Oklahoma Highway Pile-Up Victims Speak Out

Wednesday, December 26th 2012, 9:43 pm
By: News 9

Victims of Tuesday's massive highway pile-up at the Fort Smith junction are sharing their experiences with News 9.

The string of accidents had I-40 shut down for hours Christmas morning.

The accidents were caused by black ice, according to officials at the scene. The I-40 bridge looked more like a junk yard early Tuesday. Many vehicles are now totaled, but fortunately, no one was killed.

"I kept thinking we're going to die," driver Patricia Lewis said.

Michael and Patricia Lewis were in complete terror moments before the impact.

"Cars were just interlaced with each other, just piled up," Michael Lewis said. "It was crazy."

The Lewis couple says emergency crews did a superb job taking care of the injured.

12/25/2012 Related Story: Westbound I-40 In OKC Reopens Following Multi-Vehicle Crash

"People were crawling over hoods of cars … trying to get out," EMSA field supervisor Tony McCarty said.

Michael and Patricia were treated at a hospital for minor injuries. Their car was one of the last in the string of accidents. The pile-up itself was latest in a string of unfortunate events for the couple.

Just days before Christmas, their daughter died. Michael and Patricia were on their way home to California from their daughter's burial in Tennessee. When their journey was halted in Oklahoma, they were already nearly broke from the cost of funeral expenses.

"We had planned a certain amount of money because we don't really have a lot," Patricia said.

Now, without a car, Michael and Patricia are just trying to find a way home.

The couple tells News 9 they, along with every other driver in the pile-up, were issued a $252 ticket.

Right now, the couple is staying at an Oklahoma City hotel. To help, call the hotel at 405-947-7801, Ext 115.