OKLAHOMA CITY – Traffic along the eastbound lanes of the Turner Turnpikes came to a standstill Friday afternoon after a semi hit the Hogback Road Bridge.
The trailer portion then crushed the front end of another vehicle.
This is the third accident at this same bridge in less than two months.
All of the collisions involved semis and all of the accidents tied up traffic.
However, OHP officials as well as the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority said it is not the bridge, it’s those who ignore height limits and travel illegally on the turnpike.
The front of the vehicle is just smashed to nothing; it was only a matter of seconds that saved the rest of the car and, more importantly, saved the driver.
“It could have easily been a fatality,” OHP Trooper Billy Fausett said. “If he’d have been any closer to it, the trailer could have landed on top of that car and the guy could not be going home tonight.”
The Hogback Bridge is east of the metro on the Turner Turnpike.
There have been three accidents just like this one within the less than two months in this exact spot.
One happened in September, another in October and now this one.
“His trailer caught the bridge; when it did, it caused it to dislodge from the tractor,” Fausett said. “It completely blocked the turnpike and actually fell on one car behind it.”
The driver of that car suffered minor injuries to his hand.
The driver of the semi wasn’t hurt but now faces serious penalties as does the company that owns the truck.
The trailer was too tall to fit under the bridge.
“They will be audited and checked by our size and weight unit,” the trooper said. “They have federal guidelines in which they have to comply with and they’re not complying.”
Turnpike authorities said the trucking company was not permitted to drive on the turnpike.
Oversized loads need to have a permit to travel this road and in all three accidents none did.
Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt.
“It’s a good day when everybody walks away and it’s a minor injury accident,” Fausett said.
Turnpike officials said they will file a claim with the company’s insurance to pay for damages to the bridge.
That trucking company will also be fined.
There was no structural damage to the bridge itself.
State transportation officials expect to replace it in 2014.