I-44 crash site "looks like a war zone" - KOAM TV 7

Attorneys settle a civil lawsuit over an Oklahoma turnpike collision that killed 10 people

Updated October 07, 2010 12:35 PM CST:  On June 26, 2009, a semi driven by Donald Creed, age 76 at the time, of Willard, Missouri slammed into several vehicles that had stopped for a previous crash near Miami, Oklahoma.

Attorneys for family members of eight of the victims say a $62.7 million settlement was reached Wednesday night.

The settlement covers those eight deaths and a wrongful injury claim.

A relative of the other two victims had reached an earlier settlement.

Creed was driving for Kansas City based Associated Wholesale Grocers.

Both are defendants in the case.

Creed plead guilty to negligent homicide and has already served a 30-day sentence.

Updated August 02, 2010 11:25 PM CDT:  In June of 2009, 10 people were killed when a semi truck barreled into a line of slowed traffic.

Now the man behind the wheel of the semi and the district attorney's office have reached a plea agreement.

The crash happened on the Will Rogers Turnpike near Miami, Oklahoma, the other cars slowing down because of another accident scene in front of the them.

Highway patrol says the truck driven by Donald Creed never showed any signs of slowing down before it caused the pileup and troopers say it is possible Creed never touched the brakes of the big rig.

Creed is now 77-years old, and plead guilty to ten counts of negligent homicide, a misdemeanor in Oklahoma.

He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and also placed on 10 years probation.

He will spend those 30 days in the Ottawa County jail.

Creed will also wear a GPS monitor for his first year of probation.

Finally, he is not allowed to have a commercial driver's license.

District Attorney Eddie Wyant says the family's of the ten victims left the sentencing in the hands of the court.

Updated June 28, 2010 - 5:25 PM CST

Attorneys say a plea deal could be in the works for the 77-year-old driver of a tractor-trailer that slammed into a line of stopped cars on a turnpike in northeastern Oklahoma killing 10 people just over a year ago.

Donald Creed of Willard, Missouri, has plead not guilty to ten counts of negligent homicide.

Ottawa County District Attorney Eddie Wyant said Monday that he has been negotiating with Creed's attorney "trying to come to resolution on the case."

Updated Oct. 7, 2009 - 12:30 PM CST

Family members of those killed in the wreck on the Will Rogers Turnpike are suing a Missouri truck driver and the company he worked for.

Donald Creed's truck plowed into a line of cars stopped in traffic and 10 people were killed in Ottawa County, Oklahoma on June 26.

The crash was the deadliest in Oklahoma history when the semi slammed into a row of cars that had stopped for another wreck.

The highway patrol says it found no evidence Creed tried to hit the brakes.

Creed faces 10 misdemeanor counts of negligent homicide.

He was working for Associated Wholesale Grocers, which is based out of Kansas City.

Updated Sept. 23, 2009 - 3:25 PM CST

MIAMI, OKLA. - A 76-year-old truck driver from Missouri turns himself in, charged in a fatal crash in Oklahoma on Interstate 44.

Donald Creed made his first appearance and plead not guilty in Ottawa County court on Wednesday.

Creed is charged with ten misdemeanor counts of negligent homicide for the crash on I-44 that killed ten people on June 26, 2009 near Miami.

Each charge carries a maximum of one year in county jail.

The deadly crash happened when troopers say Creed's semi slammed into a line of stopped cars on the Will Rogers Turnpike.

Creed was booked and released on a $20,000 bond.

Updated Sept. 21, 2009 - 3:31 PM CST

By RICHARD GREEN - Associated Press Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A prosecutor filed 10 misdemeanor counts of negligent homicide against a tractor-trailer driver Monday whose rig slammed into a line of stopped cars on the Will Rogers Turnpike in northeastern Oklahoma, killing 10 people.

Ottawa County District Attorney Eddie Wyant said he filed the charges against Donald L. Creed of Willard, Mo. Each charge carries a maximum of one year in a county jail.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has said the accident was caused by Creed's inattention. The patrol investigation found no evidence that the 76-year-old driver tried to brake or take evasive action in the June 26 wreck. The cars Creed's rig hit were stopped because of an earlier crash.

Rob Coffey, Creed's attorney, did not immediately return a call for comment.

Wyant said authorities would be in touch with Coffey to arrange Creed's surrender. Bond for the charges is $20,000.

Wyant said there was no indication Creed was under the influence of an intoxicant at the time of the accidents.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol report said it appeared that the truck's cruise control was set at about 70 mph before the accident.

According to the report, while still in his vehicle, Creed asked investigators if he had hit someone.

The report also said that at the scene, Creed "stated that vehicles had driven underneath him while he was parked." Troopers noted that "Creed had no visual obstructions" and could have seen at least 2,400 feet prior to the initial impact.

Authorities said earlier that Creed had worked 10 hours straight delivering groceries in sweltering heat before the crash but that he did not exceed the federal daily driving limit.

The crash killed Shelby Hayes, 35, of Frisco, Texas; her husband, Randall Hayes, 38; their son, Ethan Hayes, 7; and Shelby Hayes' mother, Cynthia Olson, 55, of Crossroads, Texas.

Other victims were Oral Hooks, 69, Earlene Hooks, 63, Antonio Hooks, 42, and Dione Hooks, 41, all of Oklahoma City; and Ricardo Reyes, 39, and Ernestia Reyes, both of Phoenix. The Reyes' 12-year-old daughter, Andrea, was injured in the crash.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Updated August 3, 2009 - 4:18 PM CST

Official report says inattentive driving to blame for I-44 crash that killed 10 people

Details slowly unfold in the I-44 crash that killed 10 people.

The official report is out on the June crash near the Miami exit on the Will Rogers Turnpike.

On a clear June day Donald Creed's semi-truck slammed into and on top of three cars, those vehicles slammed into three more.

A chaotic scene erupted on the interstate.

Mangled metal, broken bodies along the highway, emergency lights blinked long after sun set.

Ten people died in the crash, with victims from Missouri, Oklahoma, Arizona and Texas.

According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol the cause of the crash:  "Creed was inattentive at the time of the collision".

The narrative also contains information about Creeds actions after the crash.

Reportedly, Creed was being asked to exit the truck when he asked if he'd hit someone.

An investigator recalled the 76 year old driver's reaction to the crash:

"Creed stated that the vehicles had driven underneath him while he was parked".

As in earlier accounts, the final report states there were no skid marks to indicate Creed had tried to stop.

A GPS tracking system indicating creeds speed of 69.5 to 71 miles an hour, is strong evidence his cruise control was on.

According to the report, Creed's physical condition after the crash could not be determined.

Creed declined to be interviewed on the advice of his attorney.

Creed's driving records show no violations.

The Ottawa County district attorney has not yet received the final report.

He says he can not determine if charges will be filed.

Updated July 26, 2009 - 12:22 PM CST

Semi in fatal I-44 crash that killed 10 people was under the speed limit

Investigators say the semi that caused a series of crashes in Interstate 44 on June 26 in Ottawa County, Oklahoma had its cruise control set and was traveling slower than the posted 75 mile an hour speed limit.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the driver of the truck, Donald Creed, 76, barreled into a line of stopped cars causing the pileup last month.

Troopers say Creed set the cruise control at 71.

Before the investigation is over, the highway patrol wants to review Creed's medical and cell phone records.

Updated July 7, 2009 - 4:14 PM CST

Eight troopers investigating I-44 crash that killed 10

OTTAWA COUNTY, OKLA. - The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says it's one week away from handing over the full crash investigation report of the Will Rogers Turnpike accident that occurred last month that killed ten people.

The report will be sent to the Ottawa County prosecutor who will then determine if any charges will be filed against the 76 year old truck driver, Donald Creed.

The highway patrol is not releasing any information on why the truck driver did not try to stop before he plowed into cars that were stopped at a previous accident near mile marker 321 on June 26.

The highway patrol says there are eight troopers working this case, from technical experts looking at the truck to troopers interviewing witnesses.

One lieutenant says this is the biggest undertaking the Will Rogers Turnpike troopers have investigated.

"A lot of things happen in these crashes," says Lt. George Brown.  "We don't want to miss any steps.  We want to be thorough in our investigation.  This is something that does take some time.  But I would say by next week we will have a report ready to go."

Investigators want to reiterate that drugs and alcohol were not a factor.

There is an update on one of the survivors:

A 12 year old girl was being treated at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Kansas in critical condition.  That girl has been upgraded to fair condition.

Updated June 29, 2009 - 4:47 PM CST

Inattentive driver sideswipes semi in initial crash that led to Friday's deadly I-44 pileup

OTTAWA COUNTY, OKLA. - Authorities are piecing together information on why traffic was stopped on the interstate before a semi-truck plowed into a line of cars in Friday's pile-up that killed ten people.

A captain with the Oklahoma State Highway Patrol (OSHP) tells us the total investigation could take up to a month to complete.

Right now investigators are talking to witnesses and getting help from patrol officers as far as Oklahoma City.

The OSHP says motorists need to be alert on the interstate while driving.

Captain Scott Horton of of the highway patrol says preliminary reports show that a motorist was sleepy or not paying attention and drifted over to the shoulder and side swiped a semi-truck.

Motorists then stopped to offer the driver help.

"Several motorists got out of their vehicles and pushed the car to the shoulder - which caused an accordion effect," Captain Horton says.  "Traffic just stopped and backed up.  This accident was a result of traffic being stopped.  We did not see any evidence of braking by the truck driver.  We don't know the cause of him not seeing the traffic stoppage but that is a continuing investigation."

Updated June 29, 2009 - 4:30 PM CST

Friday's I-44 crash claims another victim

A family on the way to a funeral now has four more to plan.  That after the death toll rises in the deadliest car crash in Oklahoma history.

A 10th victim has passed away following Friday's horrific crash on the Will Rogers Turnpike.

Shelby Hayes, 35, from Frisco, Texas died Sunday morning at Freeman Hospital in Joplin.

She had been pinned for two hours.

Her seven year old son, Ethan, and her husband, Randall Hayes, 38, both died at the scene.

As did her mother Cynthia Olson also from Texas.

We're told the family was on their way Sarcoxie, Missouri to attend a funeral for Shelby's great-father.

Troopers say the semi-driver, Donald Creed, 76, was not under the influence of drugs and there is no evidence of any drinking.

Troopers say Creed wasn't texting, or even using a cell phone.

The investigation is ongoing.

Updated June 29, 2009 - 2:25 PM CST

I-44 crash victims identified

MIAMI, OKLA. - The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has identified the victims of a chain-reaction crash that killed nine people on the Will Rogers Turnpike in Miami, Oklahoma:

  • Ricardo Reyes, 76, of Phoenix, Arizona
  • Ernestina Reyes, wife of driver, of Phoenix, Arizona
  • Randall Hayes, 38, of Frisco, Texas
  • Ethan Hayes, 7, of Frisco, Texas
  • Cynthia Olson, 55, of Crossroads, Texas
  • Oral Hooks, 69, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Earlene Hooks, 63, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Antonio Hooks, 42, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Dione Hooks, 41, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Troopers say the wreck occurred when an earlier crash brought eastbound traffic to a standstill.

That's when a tractor-trailer slammed into at least three cars, which then led to a chain reaction crash involving three other vehicles.

Investigators say they don't believe truck driver made any attempt to stop before the impact.

That driver, Donald Creed, 76, of Willard, Missouri, was taken to Freeman Hospital where he is reportedly in good condition.

First responders say with how chaotic and massive the wreck was rescuing the victims was a complex procedure.

"We didn't want it to tip over because there was a live person sitting over there, and we couldn't move over cause there was a live person over there," says tow truck operator Bob Garner.  "So we just had to literally pick it up and pull the cars out from underneath it.  And it took three big wreckers to get it out."

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says while Creed failed to slow down at all before the crash he did not show signs of using drugs or alcohol.

First reported June 26, 2009 - 2:58 PM CST / Last updated 8:30 PM CST

I-44 crash site "looks like a war zone"

MIAMI, OKLA. - A tractor-trailer slammed into a line of cars stopped in traffic Friday afternoon on a northeast Oklahoma turnpike, killing at least eight people, authorities said.

Highway Patrol has not released the names or hometowns of the people killed in the pileup.

Our photographer was on the scene and shot the video to the right

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said the accident happened northeast of Miami on Interstate 44 near the border with Missouri and Kansas.

OHP Lt. George Brown said traffic was stopped because of an earlier crash when the big rig slammed into at least three cars, which then crashed into more vehicles.

Investigators don't believe the driver of the tractor-trailer attempted to stop before the crash, Brown said.

Brown feared the death toll could rise as authorities were trying to get to an automobile pinned under the semi.

"It looks like a war zone," he said. "There's mangled metal everywhere. There's debris, fluids, dead bodies."

The truck driver survived the crash.

Troopers say they were able to free a 12-year old girl from a car and get her to a hospital.

Traffic was backed up for miles.

Eastbound lanes of the turnpike were closed after the accident, which occurred shortly about 1 p.m.

Stalled traffic baked in 100-degree temperatures and emergency crews delivered water to some of the stranded motorists.

Shortly after 5 p.m. one eastbound lane was opened and traffic slowly began to move.

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