Driving on the Will Rogers Turnpike proved deadly Monday for three people, in two separate wrecks.
Claremore resident, Reba Mae Upky, 80, touched off the first deadly collision around 12:32 p.m. while driving eastbound in the westbound lane of the Will Rogers Turnpike. Upky died from injuries sustained in the wreck, as did Yanett Barker of Buda, Texas.
Later in the day around 3 p.m., in a separate wreck due in part to traffic congestion, Gary Dale Eakin of Wichita Fall, Texas, died.
The two separate collisions snarled turnpike traffic for hours on Monday causing 5 p.m. commuters to seek alternate routes home.
In the first wreck, Upky was traveling eastbound on the Will Rogers Turnpike (I-44) near mile marker 254, at the Claremore exit gate, at 12:32 p.m. Monday.
According to OHP Trooper Shawn Weese’s report, Upky, was driving her 1999 Ford pickup east in the westbound lane of the Will Rogers Turnpike when she struck a second vehicle, a 2006 Dodge Durango, head on.
The Dodge was driven by Scott Barker, 38, of Buda, Texas, which continued westbound after impact, and rolled over the center retaining wall before coming to rest in the eastbound inside lane, according to Weese’s report.
Traveling with Barker were his wife, Yanett, 35, and his children, Evan, 7, and Tenay, 9.
After striking Barker’s vehicle, Upky’s pick up rotated and the rear of her vehicle struck the trailer of a third vehicle, a 2002 Volvo semi tractor trailer driven by Daniel J. Hetzel, 26, of Waukesha, Wis.
Upky was pinned in her vehicle for 25 minutes before being transported by Life Flight Air Ambulance to St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, where she expired shortly after arrival from massive injuries.
Scott Barker was pinned inside his Dodge Durango for 20 minutes before being freed and transported by Pafford EMS to Tulsa Regional Medical Center, where he was admitted in stable condition with head, trunk external, arm and leg injuries.
Yanett Barker was pinned inside her vehicle for 45 minutes, and was pronounced dead at the scene from massive internal injuries.
Evan and Tenay Barker were transported to St. Francis Hospital, where they were admitted in stable and good condition with head, arm and leg injuries.
The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured.
In a separate accident, Eakin died in another multi-vehicle collision around 3 p.m. on the Turnpike around mile marker 264, 10 miles east of the Claremore gate.
According to the report of OHP Trooper Chris Simpson, Eakin, 46, was eastbound in his 2005 International semi.
At the same time, five other vehicles were eastbound on the same stretch of highway, near Eakin’s semi. Four of these had greatly slowed due to congestion, and Eakin struck the rear of a 2005 Freightliner semi, driven by Peter Lyndon Anderson of Bethany.
Eakin was ejected 76 feet through the driver’s side door of his vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene from massive injuries.
Once struck, Anderson’s semi was knocked into a 2006 Ford Mustang, driven by Robert Ray Carter of Cleveland, which then struck the center wall, Simpson’s report said.
Anderson’s semi continued eastbound, striking the rear of 2005 GMC 4500 truck, driven by Shelly Yoshimoto, 43, of Depew, and pushing Yoshimoto’s vehicle into another vehicle, a 2006 Peterbilt semi, driven by John Deatherage, 47, of O’Fallon, Mo.
A sixth vehicle, a 1998 Volvo semi, driven by Dimitar Nalbantov, 29, of Glendale, Ariz. also received damage from the multiple collisions.
Anderson was transported to Claremore Regional Hospital where he was treated for neck injuries and released.
The other drivers were not injured.
All information on both fatality collisions was taken from the reports of OHP Troopers Shawn Weese and Chris Simpson, both of the OHP Will Rogers Turnipike division.