Okemah, OK Auto Accident Kills Five, July 1994


Oklahoma City (AP) - Trooper Keith Robertson has seen some bad traffic accidents in his time with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. The one that killed a young Wisconsin family this weekend was different.
"It bothered me," Robertson said Sunday.
"I didn't sleep too good last night, after pulling these babies out of a car."
TONY MORRISON, 25, of Milwaukee and his wife, ELIZABETH, 21, wore their seat belts as they headed east Saturday night. Their children, ANTHONY and ALICIA, both 4, were strapped in as well, and 10-month-old PRISCILLA was in a car seat.
But all five died when their 1990 Nissan Stanza ran off the highway while crossing a bridge, struck the guardrail and smashed into the creek about 30 feet below.
"They were on vacation, going back home, and had just left Texas in the morning," Robertson said. "They were trying to make it back to Milwaukee by Sunday morning."
Okemah Fire Chief Bill Tanner said Morrison's car landed on the north side of the creek, which he said is about 50 feet wide.
"I've been on the fire department 20 years, and this is probably the worst one I've been on," he said. "You see two adults in front who appear to be badly hurt, then you take off the door and there's a small child. You get that one out and you're able to see two others inside.
It's pretty hard to take."
The accident occurred about 7 p.m., two miles west of Okemah in Okfuskee County. The patrol's accident report filed several hours later said the vehicle was traveling "at a high rate of speed," but it was unclear how fast.
Robertson investigated the first of two five-fatality accidents that occurred within 24 hours of each other.
The second, a two-vehicle collision on U.S. 270 just west of Alderson in Pittsburg County, killed a McAlester man who was driving with a suspended license and four others who were on their way to a reunion.

Marshfield News-Herald Wisconsin 1994-08-01