Semi Drives Off I-40 Overpass Near Shawnee

Monday, March 16th 2009, 7:23 am
By: News On 6

News9 and Associated Press

SHAWNEE, OK -- A semi-truck went off an Interstate 40 overpass onto Highway 177 near Shawnee Sunday afternoon.

No cars were hit,  though several drivers were stalled until crews cleared the roadway. The semi-truck was carrying oranges, which spilled on the highway.

Passing drivers were able to help the two men in the tractor trailer truck get out safely before the rig caught fire.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers said the driver was headed east on the highway when he coughed and could not catch his breath. The truck ran off the road into the median, struck a guardrail and then fell onto the highway below and struck a bridge pillar.

The truck's driver, 42-year-old Leroy Ward Jr. is listed in critical condition. The passenger, 34-year-old Ruben Pinnix,  is listed in serious condition.  The men, both from North Carolina, were taken to a Shawnee hospital.