- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 28, 2009

MIAMI, Okla. | Hours after a tractor-trailer slammed into stopped traffic on a northeast Oklahoma turnpike, tow trucks dislodged the rig from a crushed car to find the body of a ninth victim inside the mangled wreckage near the border with Kansas and Missouri.

Eight adults and one child died Friday in the accident, which left twisted metal and debris strewn across the highway and stranded miles of traffic in scorching heat for hours.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. George Brown said an earlier crash had stopped eastbound traffic Friday afternoon on the Will Rogers Turnpike when the big rig slammed into at least three cars, which then crashed into more vehicles.

Troopers said at least four other people were injured in the chain-reaction crash. Investigators said some of the victims were pinned in the wreckage for up to nine hours before firefighters could free them.

Investigators don’t think the driver of the tractor-trailer, identified as Donald Creed, 76, of Willard, Mo., tried to stop before the crash, Lt. Brown said. The speed limit in the area is 75 mph.

A criminal investigation is under way, which is routine after a fatal accident, and blood was drawn from the truck driver, Lt. Brown said. There was no indication alcohol was involved, he said.

Tow-truck driver Bob Garner of Miami, one of the first respondents to the scene, said, “This is the worst one I’ve ever worked.”

Jericho Malphrus, 17, was driving on the turnpike with his mother to his hometown of Orient, Ohio, after touring a Bible college in Broken Arrow.

“Mainly what struck me was the amount of debris everywhere,” Mr. Malphrus said. “There were clothes and snacks and debris. Someone’s suitcase had busted open, and a little girl’s clothes were everywhere.”

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