Slick Roads Lead To Fatal Accident On Turnpike

Monday, December 15th 2008, 5:23 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, News On 6

MAYES COUNTY - A man is dead after he and his wife lost control of their tractor-trailor Monday morning on the Will Rogers Turnpike.

His wife was driving and now, she talks about driving in these conditions and the loss of her husband of 21 years.

"He was always thinking of me. Everything, everything was me. I always came first," said Bonnie Gary, victim's wife.

Bonnie Gary says her husband was the perfect mix -- an outdoorsman who loved to fish and ride Harley's, but loved his three daughters and seven grandkids the most.

"His family came first, no matter what. What he had to do without, he did without just so he could provide for us," said Gary.

Charles Gary drove a truck for 40 years. He was sleeping in the passenger seat early Monday morning. His wife was behind the wheel. She's a licensed truck driver who almost always accompanied her husband.

She says the roads were slick as they drove down the Will Rogers Turnpikes in Mayes County.

"I had geared down to 35 miles an hour and I just remember seeing something white," said Gary. "I realized it was a trailer ahead of me, straight across the highway, covering up both lanes of traffic. No place to go. I couldn't stop. I couldn't stop. There was ice on the road."

She says right before the crash her husband reached out and unbuckled her seatbelt. That's the last thing she remembers.

"The truck just was all on fire, all on fire," said Gary. "The flames just came right at me, they were just coming out."

Gary says drivers everywhere need to slow down.

"Thirty-five miles an hour, maybe 40, is the right speed on ice. Faster than that and you're asking for it," said Gary.

She says she'll miss the simple pleasure of riding alongside Charles, but looking over old photographs, she says her husband used his last breath to save her.

"If he hadn't managed to unhook my belt, I probably wouldn't be here today," said Gary.

Bonnie Gary says her hair was singed and she has burns on her arms, but is otherwise uninjured.

Charles Gary would have turned 64 next month. His wife says he was looking forward to retiring in two years.

EMSA says they took eight drivers to hospitals in a two hour period Monday morning.