State Trooper Hurt In Crash Near Claremore

Sunday, March 22nd 2009, 5:29 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

CLAREMORE, OK -- An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper was among seven injured in a car accident Sunday afternoon on the Will Rogers Turnpike.

The crash occurred about 4:15 p.m. on the highway just outside Claremore. Authorities said the trooper was in the middle of a traffic stop when an pickup truck crashed into his cruiser.

Trooper Chris Simpson had just pulled over a van with as many as 15 people inside, including many children. Two of those children were hurt, along with all four passengers in the truck.

Simpson was taken to an area hospital with a possible head injury and laceration on his neck, but is in stable condition.

"We're fortuntate that there were no fatalities in this particular collision," OHP Lt. George Brown said. "But again, very unfortunate accident. It's a bad crash."

The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but Brown said the driver of truck failed to get in the outside lane.

Accidents like this serve as a reminder of why people need to pull over when they see a trooper involved in a traffic stop, Brown said.

"In the state of Oklahoma, when you drive up on an emergency vehicle, you are required to slow down and or change lanes," Brown said.

The crash caused westbound traffic to slow to a trickle on the turnpike. According to OHP, many people were coming back from the lake or spring break, but their return trip to Tulsa was delayed because of the backup.

After traffic backed up for several miles, OHP began diverting cars at the Big Cabin exit.

Authorities do not believe the driver of the truck was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.