One person died Thursday in an unlikely turn of fate that left a pickup crushed under a shipping container filled with weight-lifting equipment.
About 2:20 p.m., a military transport vehicle carrying a shipping container filled with weight-lifting equipment was heading east on NE 23 when it passed under a railroad bridge between Sooner Road and Air Depot Boulevard. The container hit the bridge, spun 180 degrees and hit the pickup as it passed by driving west, Oklahoma City police reported.
The white pickup sat buckled under the weight of the orange shipping container. Several pieces of weight-lifting equipment were littered across the roadway.
A few hundred feet away, the transport vehicle sat twisted with its frame pointing up in the air — evidence of the force that yanked the container from the trailer.
Police had not been able to identify the deceased driver as of Thursday evening because they had not been able to remove the container from atop the pickup, Oklahoma City police Capt. Dexter Nelson said. The driver of the military transport vehicle was not injured.
Nelson said railroad officials inspected the bridge and determined it is intact.
The center of the bridge marks the dividing line between the city limits of Midwest City and Oklahoma City.
Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes said the railroad line belongs to Stillwater Central Railroad. The track over NE 23 is part of a line recently bought by the company from the state as part of a plan to offer passenger service from Midwest City to Sapulpa.
Telephone messages left for Stillwater Central Railroad officials were not returned Thursday, and calls to its Oklahoma City office were unanswered.
There is no sign on the west side of the bridge marking its height, though a road sign about a quarter of a mile west warns drivers of low clearance.
Nelson said military transport drivers have access to information detailing the heights of all the bridges and overpasses in the state.
“The military will be doing an investigation to determine why their driver didn’t know the size of his container or the height of the bridge,” Nelson said.
Bill Williams, who said he has lived just west of the bridge for 20 years, said he cannot count how many times he has seen trucks with large loads hit the bridge or get stuck under it.
“Honestly, I’m surprised they haven’t raised it up or put more signs up,” Williams said
Police blocked off NE 23 from Sooner to Air Depot, and fatality investigators were on the scene.
Nelson said officers expected the road would be shut for several hours until wreckers were able to move the container and the truck.