Emily Baucum, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- Law enforcement officers say these days, everyone's snapping pictures when they drive by a car crash.
They say what people don't realize is that they're putting first responders lives -- drivers' lives and their own lives -- in danger.
On Sunday, a Tulsa woman stopped on the side of Interstate 44 to take pictures of a car accident and ends up handcuffed and behind bars. It's perfectly legal to take pictures on a public street or sidewalk, but officers this time say it was reckless behavior.
Tulsan Mary Bradshaw says she was stuck in traffic on I-44 when she saw a car dangling from a tree. The arrest report says troopers saw Bradshaw pull over and start taking pictures. When troopers questioned her, she claimed to work for the Associated Press.
She doesn't have credentials, so troopers asked her several times to leave, the report states. Bradshaw refused, and a trooper handcuffed her and took her to jail. She was booked on two misdemeanor complaints: obstruction and resisting arrest.
"In this particular case, when someone comes on our crime scene and actually stops, gets out of their vehicle and then starts taking pictures, we have to address that pretty seriously, and we have to address it quickly," said Officer Craig Murray of the Tulsa Police Department.
Officer Craig Murray, the traffic safety coordinator for Tulsa Police, says gawking takes an already dangerous situation -- like a bad accident on a narrow interstate -- and makes it even worse.
"If someone's gawking, rubber-necking, they're looking at something," he said. "Someone ahead of them is doing the same thing and then we have a rear-end collision."
The accident report says troopers saw Bradshaw slam on the brakes, causing her to skid. They say her car came close to hitting another vehicle.
"Just coming on the scene alone does it, but screeching to a stop. What if she had bad tires? What if she hit some oil or leakage from the fluids of the vehicle? She could have slid into another car or some person that's trying to do their job," Officer Murray said.
But Bradshaw's definitely not the only gawker. Last week, several people pulled over to snap pictures of a car that took a nose dive off the highway.
Bradshaw says she used to be a photojournalist -- and when she saw the car in the tree, the instinct to get the best picture kicked in. She says she's embarrassed her attempt to cover the news as a citizen, made the news.
Here at News On Six, we do invite viewers to send us pictures of anything they see that's newsworthy. But we want to remind people -- don't put yourself or others in danger to take those pictures -- and always follow an officer's orders.
Our photographer parked on a side street, then walked to shoot video of the crash. He didn't park on the interstate.