Turnpike Crash Survivor Speaks Out

Sunday, June 28th 2009, 4:59 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A Tulsa man who survived what Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers are calling the deadliest car crash in the state's history is speaking out about the carnage he saw.

A total of 10 people have died since Friday as a result of the crash on the Will Rogers Turnpike near Miami.

On Friday afternoon, Larry Smith of Tulsa was stuck in traffic on U.S. I-44 on his way to Branson to celebrate his granddaughter's 13th birthday.

Smith was joined by his wife of 35 years, Marcella Smith, 62, his granddaughter Hayley Nonlan, 13, of Tulsa and one of his granddaughter's friends, Delainie Degrasse, 11, of Jenks.

The group was sitting in traffic, with hazard lights on.

The Highway Patrol says traffic was stopped on the eastbound lanes of U.S. I-44 because of one accident, when a semi slammed into at least three cars, causing them to crash into more.

Smith's wife, Marcella, heard the crash.

"All of a sudden we heard, she heard, this pow-pow-pow there. There was no horn. No screeching. No anything," said Smith.

6/28/2009  Related Story: Fatal Turnpike Crash Claims Tenth Victim

Donald Creed, 76, was behind the wheel of the tractor-trailer. Troopers don't believe he tried to stop before the crash.

"No I don't forgive him," said Larry Smith. "How do you forgive somebody that's killed nine people? Took parents away from their children?"

OHP says at the time of the crash, Creed was in "apparently normal" condition with no sign of drugs or alcohol and he was not using a cell phone.

"I looked over in the drainage ditch beside the road and there was a big pile of plastic. Looked like, looked like a child's toy that had been squashed by their father's car. That was a Range Rover," said Smith.

Smith was not injured in the accident.

Marcella was hospitalized with head trauma. Smith says she can't walk on her own and is still extremely dizzy. She has an appointment Monday with a neurologist in Tulsa.

Hayley spent her 13th birthday recovering from stiffness and shock, but was not injured. Delainie Degrasse was not injured.

"You're just wondering, what in the world," said Smith. "Why didn't he touch the brakes? Why didn't he do something?

Smith says even when the pain goes away, the memories won't.