Truck Driver Charged In Fatal Turnpike Crash Appears In Court

Wednesday, September 23rd 2009, 8:36 am
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley, The News On 6

MIAMI, OK -- A Missouri truck driver charged with 10 counts of negligent homicide for a multi-car accident on the Will Rogers Turnpike back in June turned himself in Wednesday morning in Ottawa County County and pleaded not guilty. 

Seventy-six-year old Donald Creed is blamed for the deaths of 10 people after investigators say his tractor-trailer crashed into several cars near Miami in late June.

9/21/2009 Related story: Charges Filed Against Trucker In Oklahoma Crash

Creed had no comment before he was booked into the Ottawa County jail and his attorney couldn't say much.

"This is a tragic situation for everybody. Extremely tragic situation and that's about all I can say about it," said Paul Brunton, Creed's Attorney.

The crash happened on a sunny day and investigators say the road was dry.

Court documents show Creed told investigators he thought he was hit from behind or that the cars drove under him while he was stopped.

But witnesses told state police they saw Creed's truck pass as other cars slowed down for traffic backed up, they also said Creed's truck changed lanes without signaling and at a high rate of speed, and just before Creed's truck hit the first car the witness said he never saw brake lights.

Investigators say there were no signs of alcohol or drug use.

Authorities said earlier Creed had worked 10 hours straight but that he did not exceed the federal daily driving limit.

A family friend who talked with Creed less than ten minutes before the crash told authorities he sounded fine and did not say anything about being sleepy or tired.

Prosecutors say they are looking at everything as a possible cause.

"A case of this magnitude, it will have a lot of issues. That's why the April court date gives time for my office and Mr. Creed's attorney to work together to decide what type of resolution will be appropriate," said Jennifer Ellis, Asst. District Attorney.

Creed walked into the Ottawa County Courthouse shortly before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning to be arraigned on the charges. He was released on a $20,000 bond, according to Ottawa County Undersheriff Bob Ernst.

Donald Creed's family declined to answer any questions as they left the courthouse and said they had no comment. Mr. Creed's next court date will be April 6th of next year.

Dead are:

Ricardo Reyes, a 39-year-old male from Phoenix, Arizona, who died at the scene. His wife, Ernestina Reyes, age unknown, died at the scene after being pinned for about four hours.

Randall Hayes, 38, from Frisco, Texas, was pinned for about nine hours and died at the scene of the accident. His son, seven-year-old Ethan Hayes, also of Frisco, died at the scene. Shelby Hayes, 35, of Frisco, Texas, was transported by Med-Flight to Freeman Hospital in Joplin, Missouri where she was admitted in critical condition with head, internal and external injuries. She died at 7:00 Sunday morning.

Cynthia Olson, 55-year-old female from Crossroads, Texas, was pinned for about nine hours and died at the scene.

From Oklahoma City: Oral Hooks, 69-year-old male; Earlene Hooks, a 63-year-old female; Antonio Hooks, a 42-year-old male, and Dione Hooks, a 41-year-old male, died at the scene.