Marlow woman killed in collision with tanker truck

Lawton_Area law enforcement says that a Thursday afternoon car crash was one of the worst they've ever seen. A Marlow woman was killed after slamming head on into a tanker truck. The victim was driving her SUV about ¼ mile east of 60th Street in Comanche County when troopers say 48-year-old Paula Faye Smith crossed the median from the westbound lane where she was travelling, and ended up driving against traffic in the eastbound lane. Unfortunately, a tanker truck was coming straight toward her.

Witnesses say the semi driver had no time to stop. John Weaver was driving his tractor trailer to Duncan, and was directly behind the tanker truck - he watched the nightmare unfold in front of his eyes. "[She] crossed the median over there - real gentle too," Weaver said. "Just went down real smooth, and the all of a sudden - boom," said another witness. "The vehicle actually traveled west in the eastbound lanes for a short distance before it struck the semi truck," said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Captain Mike McClelland.

OHP says they believe that both the semi and the SUV were traveling at least 70 miles per hour - the speed limit - when they collided. "When it struck the side of the semi it went up, that's why it's bent the way it is," said Weaver. "Then it went into a roll and the trailer caught it." "There was a horrific impact, a horrific accident, something we don't like to deal with," said McClelland.

OHP says Paula Smith was thrown from the wreckage and killed on impact. Investigators are relying on witnesses and physical evidence to help determine why she crossed the highway. They say tire marks indicate that she swerved while she was still in the westbound lanes. "Of course we'll check for any medical reasons, anything like that," says McClelland. "We're interviewing witnesses to see if there's any physical reasoning, anything in the roadway, an animal maybe, that could have made her swerve." "I've been driving nine years, and that's the worst car truck accident I've ever seen," said Weaver.

The driver of the tanker truck was taken to the hospital, and troopers say he is going to be okay. 7News was informed that the driver had been hauling jet fuel, but the tanker was empty at the time of the crash. Eastbound traffic on Highway 7 was halted for about three hours while authorities cleared the wreckage, they reopened the highway around two Thursday afternoon.