MUSKOGEE, Okla. — A warning comes from troopers after a U-turn crash on the Muskogee turnpike left a man in critical condition.
FOX23 learned how dangerous these illegal U-turns are on the turnpike and how often drivers make the mistake.
It's so hard to make the U-turn that even state troopers get into accidents trying to do them. Troopers said Friday's accident is a clear example of why you should not try to attempt it yourself.
OHP said the driver of a silver van was going south on the turnpike when he tried to make an illegal U-turn at a cutout in the concrete barrier. That's when the driver of a truck tried to brake and then a hospital van hit the truck, which hit the silver van.
A 19-year-old woman who was a passenger in the van was killed after she was thrown out of the vehicle. She was identified as Nancy Ann Vea of Utah.
An 18-year-old male victim is in stable condition. Nine others in the hospital van and silver van were treated at hospitals and released. OHP said U-turns on the turnpike are difficult and should never be attempted.
"It's a dangerous proposition. One of the reasons
iI never wanted to work the turnpike is because it's very scary to do those turnarounds. Troopers get in crashes doing turnarounds even with their lights on," one trooper said.
But troopers said they often see drivers trying to turn around. Investigators will have to wait on toxicology results but they say the driver of the silver van will likely be ticketed for the illegal U-turn.
OHP said it takes time and experience to be able to time how fast cars are coming in order to do a U-turn on the turnpike safely -- and even then, they say, it's not an exact science.