Officials Recommend Motorists Use Emergency Number For Highway Crashes


Monday, January 13th 2020, 7:01 pm
By: Caleigh Bourgeois


Three people are recovering after a rollover two-car crash on I-44 Sunday morning.

Jim Johnson said he saw the whole thing and ran up to help the victims after the collision.

When Johnson called 911, he said he was surprised to be transferred and directed to Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

“When enough people showed up, I went back to my car. I called back 911 again,” Johnson said.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol officials confirm when 911 is called for a state highway or interstate emergency, the local police department must then transfer that call to Highway Patrol.

However, there is a way to save time in a highway emergency and eliminate the transfer step.

“We recommend that if someone is on a state highway and they need assistance with something, that they call *-5-5. That will get them directly to a Highway Patrol headquarters in the area that they are in,” Oklahoma Department of Public Safety Director of Media Operations Sarah Stewart said.

Luckily for the three victims in Sunday's crash, the message eventually got to the right people.

Everyone was taken to the hospital and are stable, according to police.

Oklahoma City police confirm it’s always OK to dial 911 during an emergency, or if one has trouble reaching *55 for whatever reason.

However, trying *55 first when on the highway can help save time, when it matters most.

“It takes out that middle man 911 operator having to transfer that call to us.  Of course, it's probably only a matter of seconds but sometimes those seconds really do count,” Stewart said.