Recovery Difficult For Some Turnpike Crash Survivors

Sunday, July 19th 2009, 5:13 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Several survivors of one of Oklahoma's deadliest car crashes are still working toward recovery.

Larry and Marcy Smith of Tulsa survived the wreck on the Will Rogers Turnpike near Miami which happened on June 26. Ten people died as a result of the crash.

Marcy Smith spent two days in the hospital last week. In total, she has spent seven nights in two different hospitals since the crash.

Her husband, Larry, says it has been a difficult three weeks.

Looking back on the crash, Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers at the scene said it looked like a war zone.

Traffic was stopped on the eastbound lanes of U.S. I-44 because of an accident, when troopers say 76-year-old Donald Creed of Willard, Missouri slammed his semi into the line of stopped cars.

Troopers say many of those cars had their hazard lights on.

"Hasn't been good, Marcy has been feeling terrible," said Larry Smith, a crash survivor.

The semi ended up on top of three vehicles. OHP says at the time of the crash the semi driver was in "apparently normal" condition with no sign of drugs or alcohol and he was not using a cell phone.

Smith's SUV was hit, but not crushed. His wife Marcy spent that night at the hospital with head trauma.

"The nerve damage could possibly take up to a year to get well," said Larry Smith.

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Since then, Marcy has spent six more nights at the hospital for observation, including two nights last week following a scary situation.

"Last Wednesday I was on my way home and (Marcy) called me on the telephone, and I couldn't even understand her," said Smith.

Smith says his wife has had four CAT scans and two MRI's, but they're trying to move on.

"The gentleman wakes up every morning knowing he killed 10 people just doing his job," said Smith.

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An OHP spokesperson says investigators believe fatigue played a role in the crash. The spokesperson says Donald Creed was driving 71 mph when he slammed into the cars.

Smith says at first he didn't forgive Creed, but now he's trying to be at peace.

"I do forgive him. I mean he didn't wake up that morning and say, ‘I think I'll go out and kill 10 people,'" said Smith.

Still, Smith says the crash haunts him.

"When you see dead people, you see children," said Smith. "That's stuff that just really affects you, badly."

Marcy says she's optimistic and is trying to feel better every day. She also said she feels no anger.

OHP says their report is mostly finished, with just a few loose ends to tie up before it's released. The report could come by the end of this month.