Accidents Keep Tulsa Tow Truck Drivers Busy

Saturday, December 2nd 2006, 5:23 pm
By: News On 6

Green Country continues to dig out from one of the worst snow storms in its history. Snow that melted into slush re-froze Friday night, creating dangerous conditions for drivers.

News on 6 reporter Chris Wright has more on the ongoing cleanup.

The storm that set a record for November snowfall in Tulsa, and was severe enough to close down several turnpikes, claimed its first life Friday night. 24 year old Muskogee resident Eldon McBride was killed and eight other people were injured when two semi trucks and five other vehicles skidded each other on Highway 69.

29 year old Clifford Haney of Wagoner jumped off a bridge into the Arkansas River to avoid being hit. He was treated at a Tulsa Hospital and later released.

The problems continued Saturday morning for drivers, as freezing temperatures turned slush into ice and kept tow truck operators busy. At Central Towing they've added 25 additional cars to their lot since Thursday.

"We've been pulling people out of ditches since this thing hit, still pulling them out," said Jim Rice with Central Towing.

Jim Rice and his drivers have worked around the clock since the storm hit on Thursday. He says that while driving conditions have improved, Tulsa roads are still full of slick spots, and some people are not exercising enough caution behind the wheel.

"It ought to be self-explanatory, when you see a flame on a grill, you know not to stick your hand on it. They see these roads are slick, they just need to stay off of them," Rice said.

Some of Rice's drivers have not slept in the past 48 hours, and with temperatures expected to be below freezing once again Saturday night, he expects them to remain sleep-deprived.

"I've lived here all my life and I've never seen anything this bad, as far as weatherwise, all at one time," said Rice.

The melting and re-freezing process is expected to continue for the next few days, as temperatures warm up during the day, then dip below freezing at night.