Broken Arrow Survivor Remembers I-40 Bridge Collapse On 10th Anniversary

Sunday, May 27th 2012, 8:47 pm
By: News On 6

It may be the 10th anniversary, but the wounds are still very fresh for people who survived the Interstate 40 bridge collapse.

Survivor Goldie Alley and her husband, Max, were traveling from Broken Arrow to Arkhoma when the road literally disappeared out from under them.

Goldie says that day she learned life can change in just the twinkle of an eye.

It's been 10 years since a barge slammed into the I-40 bridge near Webbers Falls, sending a 500-foot span of the road into the Arkansas River and leaving 14 people dead.

"It just happened so fast," Alley said.

Goldie and Max were headed to church in Arkhoma when the trip came to a screeching halt.

Their truck flew 65 feet in the air, then down another 30 feet, before coming to a stop on a lower part of the bridge.

Goldie said they were just 8 feet from falling off the edge.

"There was a big ol' truck was the next one on our side and if he would have came down, he would have been on top of us and we would have been smashed," Alley said.

Max had several broken bones in his back and Goldie punctured a lung.

But despite the horrible accident, the two kept on trekking.

The next year after the collapse, they traveled the same route to Arkhoma.

Goldie said for about four years after the accident, she would have flashbacks every time she went under or over a bridge.

"After something happens like that, hey, you do think about things like that and of course you just pray you'll get on that other end away from the water," Goldie said.

This year, she says the anniversary of the accident is especially tough.

Last December, Max, the love of her life, lost his battle to cancer.

"With God's help and my family, I'll make it," Goldie said. "We're just apart for a season and then I'll join him, but it was hard, I'll have to admit that. It was very hard.

"We always was together and instead of us doing that, of course, I had to go out to the cemetery."

Since the bridge collapse, a lot has changed in Goldie's life.

But through it all, she'll never forget what happened on that day.

In fact, she drives around with it proudly on her new truck every day.

In honor of the victims, there will be a memorial service in Webbers Falls on Monday at 10 a.m.