STILLWATER — Although orange and crimson were the predominant colors, the black and whites of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol were prevalent Saturday evening on the highways around Stillwater.
"Keep them flowing, but keep them safe,” Trooper Adrian Carrillo said as I rode with him while he worked Bedlam football traffic.
Carrillo, 27, was one of more than a dozen Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers working Bedlam traffic before and after the game.
"Going, they want to get there and leaving, well, one group of fans will leave bitter,” he said. "We’ll meet a few folks who don’t care if you give them a ticket on the way. They just want you to write them a ticket so they can get on to the game. They won’t say that, but you can gather that through the shortness of their answers and behavior.”
Carrillo’s assignment was State Highway 51 from Stillwater west to Interstate 35.
State Transportation Department spokeswoman Terri Angier said on an average day, 19,500 vehicles travel the route. Mix in Bedlam with Thanksgiving holiday traffic and the situation is certainly not average.
At 5:01 p.m. Carrillo pulled his black and white unit into the Stillwater intersection of SH 51 and Western. With his right hand rolling he kept the eastbound traffic on SH 51 flowing for about five minutes. Then the hand went up and all was stopped. At that point four highway patrol escort units leading and four following sandwiched three buses carrying the Sooner football coaches and team.