A 76-year-old truck driver was not paying attention when he slammed into six other vehicles on an Oklahoma highway, killing 10 people, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.
Although no charges have been filed, the trucker, Donald L. Creed, could face multiple negligent homicide charges.
The accident could raise demands for truck-driver age limits, similar to those for airline pilots, or for more strenuous physical tests for older drivers.
It is not known, however, if Creed's age or physical condition contributed to the accident. He passed his most recent CDL exam, which includes a physical, in April.
The June 26 crash took place at about 1:15 pm in the eastbound lane of I-44, also known as the Will Rogers Turnpike, near Miami, Okla. Another accident had slowed traffic ahead of Creed, who was traveling at about 70 mph.
“As I crested the hill I saw brake lights on the cars all the way to the underpass and started to slow down when I seen the truck in front of my truck hit a car and did not see him hit his brakes,” another truck driver at the scene said in a statement.
Police found no skid marks before the first collision, which sent a car hurtling off the road. Creed then struck three more cars, crushing them under his tractor. The last car struck a stock trailer pulled by a pickup truck, which struck yet another car.
When questioned by police at the site, Creed allegedly asked troopers if he had hit anyone. He also claimed he had been parked and the cars “had driven underneath him,” the police said. According to another witness who stopped to help accident victims, Creed asked him, “What happened? Where did they come from?”
Police said there were no visual obstructions at the accident site and Creed, a truck driver for Associated Wholesale Grocers who had a clean 18-year driving record, should have been able to see traffic at least 2,400 feet ahead of his truck before the collision.
Creed’s physical condition before the crash was listed as “unknown,” as he declined to be interviewed by investigators on the advice of his attorney, the report said.
Contact William B. Cassidy at email@example.com.