An auto accident on US 69/75 during a thick Thursday morning fog has resulted in at least one confirmed fatality with a possibility of multiple unconfirmed fatalities.
The accident took place around 8:30 a.m. Thursday on the highway between Main Street (US 70) and the Choctaw Resort. It involved a tractor-trailer and a smaller vehicle, according to emergency responder radio traffic and eyewitnesses.
“The cab of the 18-wheeler is completely demolished,” said Ray Gaskin, an adjunct professor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University who drove by the scene. “I’ve never seen one that demolished.”
Early reports indicated two people were pinned inside a vehicle but were alert. A later report indicated one of the accident victims had lost consciousness.
Durant, Caddo and Calera firefighters joined Bryan County Emergency Medical Services in responding to the scene, but were hampered by traffic and thick fog. Bryan County Emergency Management, Oklahoma Department of Transportation and Durant police were called in to close southbound US 69/75 at Main Street.
The highway re-opened within an hour of the accident, but at one point some of the traffic was allowed to reverse course and travel north in the southbound lanes to exit at Main Street.
Emergency responders requested assistance from two air ambulance services, but those were grounded due to the fog.
The National Weather Service extended a dense fog advisory through noon Thursday for a wide swath of southern Oklahoma from Ardmore to Atoka. The advisory also included several north Texas counties.
A city of Durant dispatcher also reported that “the fog is messing up lights all over town” after maintenance crews reported malfunctioning traffic lights at First and Mulberry and other locations.