Anti-turnpike group hires attorney to fight proposed plans

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LUTHER, Okla. - The group, Citizens Opposed to the Eastern Oklahoma County Turnpike, is ramping up their fight against the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.

The 21-mile turnpike is designed to run from the Turner Turnpike down to I-40 and cuts a path close to Luther Rd.

A company hired by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is already knocking on doors in the area, talking to landowners and trying to acquire their property.

But they could now be meeting resistance through the legal system.

The group has been vocal opponents to the roadway, holding rallies and trying to get the attention of the governor and the Legislature.

“Governor Fallin’s never responded to any correspondence of any type,” said Paul Crouch, part of the anti-turnpike group.

Now, they’re taking the fight to a different level, the court system.

“It’s a shame that it’s had to come to this.  But this is not just for the people of eastern Oklahoma County or Mustang.  This is for all of Oklahoma,” said Crouch.

The group started a non-profit called the Victims of Eminent Domain Fund. A GoFundMe page raised the money to hire attorney Eric Groves, who says they’re looking at the bigger picture.

“Whether this road is necessary, whether it can be properly funded, whether the Turnpike Authority is acting outside its legal powers,” said Groves.

The group also has a website, featuring the voices of people they say will be affected by the construction on this road.

“If that turnpike comes through, there will be a tear running down my cheek,” says Dennis Sisemore on the website.

“This has just devastated my family,” Joelle Volpe said.

Groves says they are in the very early stages of research and he’s not sure yet if anything can be done.

“They say for every wrong there’s a remedy, but I don’t know yet.  They’re pretty powerful,” said Groves.

Those who call eastern Oklahoma County home say they’re not intimidated and they’re not backing down.

“The bigger they are, the harder they fall,” said Crouch.

A spokesperson with the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority told us they had no comment on the group seeking legal help.