Editorial: Thanks to Oklahoma National Guard, Highway Patrol for helping stranded motorists in last storm | Editorial
During the last storm, about 40 soldiers from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team were sent in four teams of 10 to Durant, McAlester and Vinita to help the Oklahoma Highway Patrol respond to drivers in need.
Soldiers worked under the direction of OHP Soldiers to handle tasks such as finding drivers stuck on highways, clearing blocked roads, and turning vehicles back on roads. They provided extra pairs of hands to get the job done quickly.
This increased effort likely saved lives and prevented further accidents and injuries.
The biggest accident for the two agencies was a pile-up of multi-tractor trailers before sunrise Feb. 3 on Interstate 40 between Okemah and Henryetta. It caused a traffic jam for more than eight hours.
It could have been worse. The soldiers made contact with 85 vehicles taken from the reinforcement, providing blankets, water and food. A military tow truck operated by soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 160th Field Artillery Regiment cleared the way for small cars to get around the pileup.
In the Tulsa area, two teams from the 1st Battalion, 279th Infantry Regiment, 45th IBCT were sent to Vinita to work with the OHP along the Will Rogers Turnpike Highway. Fortunately, the drivers avoided major accidents.