Turnpike Officials Stress Safety After Deadly Toll Booth Accident

Tuesday, January 6th 2015, 5:49 pm

The man involved in a bad accident Monday night on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike has died.

Troopers said Tristin Jourdan was driving way too fast when he hit the back of a semi-truck and lost control. Jourdan was thrown from the vehicle and transported to the hospital by helicopter.

At this point, investigators said they don't know why he was going so fast as he approached the toll booth.

“We had semis in the lane that basically protected the collectors,” said Dale Kelso, the manager of the Newcastle Toll Booth, where the accident happened.

“The vehicle, from what I understand, clipped the semi from behind and veered off away from the booth where the collectors were standing.”

Kelso has been with the Turnpike for 27 years and has witnessed plenty of accidents.

“Our parents always told us don't play out in the street, but we work out in the street.”

1/5/2015 Related Story: Driver Killed After Crashing Into Semi, Toll Gate On H.E. Bailey TPK

“It can be dangerous to our toll booth workers, but we do stress safety to these guys every single day,” said Jack Damrill, Public Information Officer for the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.

Kelso said that starts with training of the booth operators.

“The collectors are trained to always be alert to watch for the traffic coming toward them,” he explained.

Turnpike authorities said collectors are told to get out of the booth if a vehicle is headed their way, if they have time. But if there's not enough time they are taught to at least get down.

The booths are protected, first with barriers then huge concrete blocks. And numerous speed limit signs and often speed bumps warn drivers to slow down. Unfortunately, sometimes drivers don't listen.

“We do have several accidents a year at these places because people are not paying attention, they're either on their cell phone or driving too fast,” said Damrill.