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Multiple truck crashes in Texas, Oklahoma as winter storm pummels region

‘Is it better to get there safe or lose your truck — or maybe even your life?’

Firefighters douse a tractor-trailer involved in a crash on Turner Turnpike in Oklahoma City on Sunday. (Photo: Oklahoma Highway Patrol)

Multiple truck crashes were reported in Texas and Oklahoma on Sunday as a winter storm delivered a dangerous mix of snow, ice and winds to the region’s roads.

Sobering images shared on social media included two tractor-trailers in flames on Oklahoma’s Turner Turnpike and seven semis heavily damaged on Interstate 10 near El Paso. 

They were among the worst incidents in a day with too many crashes to count. The Oklahoma Oklahoma Highway Patrol said the turnpike crash involved semis and passenger cars, and multiple victims being sent to the hospital.

Law enforcement agencies in both states urged commercial and other drivers to avoid unnecessary trips as the storm made its way east. 

“If you’re driving with an 80,000-pound load in back, is it better to get there safe or lose your truck — or maybe even your life?” Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Marc Couch, a spokesperson based in El Paso, told FreightWaves.

In Texas, the toll from the storm wasn’t immediately clear. But in El Paso, the site of the seven-truck wreck, not a single death was reported.  

Couch said that luck may have been a factor. But he also speculated that some drivers used more caution following Thursday’s massive crash in Fort Worth involving over 130 vehicles, including multiple trucks, which left six people dead.

“People have seen the footage from it, so maybe they are moderating their speed a bit more,” he said.

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Nate Tabak

Nate Tabak is a Toronto-based journalist and producer who covers cybersecurity and cross-border trucking and logistics for FreightWaves. He spent seven years reporting stories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe as a reporter, producer and editor based in Kosovo. He previously worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Jose Mercury News. He graduated from UC Berkeley, where he studied the history of American policing. Contact Nate at [email protected].