Traffic fatalities, power outages linked to icy weather

By Augie Frost, Bryan Dean and John Estus Modified: December 10, 2007 at 5:47 pm •  Published: December 10, 2007
Twelve people have been killed in weather-related accidents since Saturday and power has been lost to about 405,000 homes and businesses as a result of the ice storm, authorities said today.

The Oklahoma Emergency Management Department is reporting 12 traffic deaths since Saturday night when the first wave of icy conditions struck the state.

Four people were killed on Interstate 40 near Okemah about 7 p.m. Sunday, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported. Troopers were attempting to clear off two accidents on I-40 at the North Canadian River bridge west of Okemah when several more cars lost control on the icy roads and crashed into those vehicles, patrol Capt. Chris West said.

A series of accidents on the bridge resulted in a 10-vehicle pileup, which was capped by a tractor-trailer that caused an explosion and large fire when it slammed into the other vehicles, West said.

Firefighters from several nearby communities were called to assist in putting out the blaze and all westbound traffic was diverted to State Highway 48 at mile marker 217.

Two separate accidents in Oklahoma County killed two, said Michelann Ooten, state Emergency Management Department spokeswoman.

A Canadian County crash killed one.

Two died in separate accidents in Beckham County.

A Tillman County crash killed one and two died in separate Tulsa County crashes.

The identities of those killed were not immediately available.

Troopers have worked more than 150 injury and noninjury accidents since Saturday night.

The Oklahoma Transportation Department are plowing and treating roadways. Officials are asking motorists to slow down and stay at least 200 feet behind vehicles.

Oklahoma City police reported six injury accidents from 6 p.m. Sunday to 9 a.m. today.

Sgt. Gary Knight said the number of accidents has been low considering the weather conditions. Police worked 22 noninjury accidents from 6 p.m. Sunday to 7 a.m.today. Knight said police are no longer working noninjury accidents. They are asking motorists to exchange information and move on unless someone is injured.

Outages

As many as 157,000 Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. customers in Oklahoma City are without power, Ooten said. An additional 12,000 OG&E customers across the state are also without power.

More than 157,000 American Electric Power-Public Service Co. of Oklahoma customers in Tulsa are without power and an additional 22,000 area customers are also without electricity.

The Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives is reporting about 55,000 rural electric customers are without power. Heaviest outages are in the northeast in an area along the I-44 corridor.

An additional 3,300 customers of municipally operated companies are also without power.

Shelters

The American Red Cross has opened shelters in:

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