Civil Trial in Oklahoma Turnpike Deaths Begins

October 7, 2010

The trial in a civil lawsuit stemming from the deaths of 10 people in an Oklahoma turnpike collision is scheduled to begin.

Jury selection began Oct. 6 in Cleveland County District Court.

A semi driven by 76-year-old Donald Creed, of Willard, Mo., slammed into vehicles that had stopped for a previous accident on Interstate 44 near Miami on June 26, 2009.

Oklahoma City residents Oral Hooks, Earlene Hooks, Antonio Hooks and Dione Hooks; Shelby Hayes, Ethan Hayes and Randall Hayes of Frisco, Texas; Cynthia Olson, of Crossroads, Texas, and Ricardo Reyes and Ernestina Reyes of Phoenix were killed.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol released a report in August 2009 that said the accident was caused by the inattention of the driver of the tractor-trailer. The Associated Press previously reported that the inquiry showed no attempt by Creed to brake or take evasive action, no apparent problems with his brakes or steering and “strong evidence” that cruise control was in use, as his vehicle was traveling “consistently at 69.5 to 71 mph” for about 4.5 minutes before the collision

A 10-page lawsuit was filed in Cleveland County District Court by family members of those killed in the accident. The suit names Donald L. Creed, of Willard, Mo.; Kansas City, Kan.-based Associated Wholesale Grocers; two insurance companies, a California company and two individuals as defendants.

Creed was driving that day for Kansas City, Kan.-based Associated Wholesale Grocers, and both are defendants in the case. He pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and served a 30-day jail sentence.

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