Overturned semi prompts closure of I-44 Sunday evening

Sunday, February 26th 2006, 8:52 pm
By: News On 6

Hundreds of drivers were stranded for hours on the Will Rogers Turnpike after a semi truck accident Sunday evening.

The truck crashed at a turnpike construction zone near Claremore and tied-up both lanes of traffic.

News on 6 anchor Terry Hood says both lanes of the Will Rogers Turnpike around Claremore are now open, but it's still slow going. The accident happened near a resurfacing project where the highway narrows to just one lane in each direction.

Several dozen semis and just as many families were caught in the backlog Sunday night. Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers said at its peak, the backup stretched for five miles in each direction. No one was able to get through for four hours.

The OHP says a semi driver missed the bend in the road where the turnpike narrows from 4-lanes to two. The truck hit a concrete barrier, rolled over on its side, and skidded down the highway, until it got to this overpass.

In the wreck, the semi spilled its load of loose steel. Between the accident, and all the debris over both lanes of the road, drivers like DeeAnne were stuck in traffic for hours. DeeAnne Midgett: "My daughter, her boyfriend and I just listened to the radio until our battery went dead."

DeeAnne had to walk up and down the highway to find someone with jumper cables to get her car started again.