The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

State News

January 14, 2010

Oklahoma: Turnpike officials void toll violations

The Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — State Transportation Secretary Gary Ridley said Thursday that motorists who drove along Oklahoma turnpikes during the Christmas Eve blizzard without paying the toll will not have to pay a $25 fine.

And he said the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority was wrong for issuing more than 1,200 toll violation notices.

“When government makes a mistake, government needs to admit it, correct it and make sure it never happens again,” Ridley said. “We certainly made a mistake in how we handled this.”

The OTA sent automatic toll violation notices to 1,286 motorists who drove on an Oklahoma turnpike between Christmas Eve — when the blizzard began — and the day after Christmas. The notices demanded that the motorists pay a $25 fine for not paying the toll.

But Ridley said so much snow fell during the storm that driving lanes were not visible and some cash toll collection equipment would not operate.

Some motorists have complained that they could not get to cash toll gates because cars or snowdrifts were blocking the entrances during the blizzard. Many cash turnpike users had no choice but to take a prepaid Pikepass lane, triggering the automated violation notice.

“We had an unprecedented snowstorm and blizzard,” Ridley said. “It was an extreme event of huge proportions.”

The storm lasted for more than six hours and dropped 14 inches of wind-blown snow with drifts up to three feet high in Oklahoma City and elsewhere. Dozens of motorists were stranded and had to be rescued by authorities when their cars got stuck in snow on one of Oklahoma’s turnpikes or other highways.

Four turnpikes — the H.E. Bailey, Turner, Kilpatrick and Creek — were closed during the storm and part of the Will Rogers Turnpike northeast of Tulsa was also closed, turnpike officials said.

“It really was unfit for anyone,” said Tim Stewart, deputy director of OTA.

Text Only
State News
  • Miners earn top seed in district American Legion tourney

    The Joplin Miners are the No. 1 seed for this week’s Triple-A District 15 Tournament at Carl Junction.

    July 16, 2014

  • Bill Reiboldt 070210.jpg Rep. Reiboldt withdraws from debate about farming amendment

    Southwest Missouri Democrats on Wednesday will sponsor a program on the Right to Farm Amendment, but it unclear if there will be a debate on the measure.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Oklahoma lawmaker not upset by convict’s delayed death

    State Rep. Brian Renegar, D-McAlester, said his thoughts turned to Clayton Lockett’s murder victim when he learned Lockett had died of a heart attack shortly after his formal execution was halted because of problems with the lethal drug injection process.

    April 30, 2014

  • Oklahoma governor orders review of failed execution

    Gov. Mary Fallin ordered a thorough review Wednesday of the botched lethal drug execution of a convicted murderer that left him writhing and grunting. But the governor said executions will continue in Oklahoma, and the review by the state Department of Public Safety is to determine if medical and other protocols were followed in the failed execution of Clayton D. Lockett.

    April 30, 2014

  • Party on? No local love in Princeton Review rankings

    There's no love for Missouri Southern State University, Pittsburg State University or Crowder College in the new rankings issued by the Princeton Review. Which, given many of the survey categories, isn't necessarily a bad thing.

    August 6, 2013

  • r022113ice.jpg Gov. Nixon declares state of emergency in Missouri

    Gov. Jay Nixon today declared a state of emergency in Missouri in response to severe winter weather that began early this morning, bringing hazardous travel and the possibility of power outages.

    February 21, 2013 1 Photo

  • Publicist: Andy Williams dies

    According to a publicist, Emmy-winning TV host and 'Moon River' crooner Andy Williams has died.

    September 26, 2012

  • Lions climb into share of MIAA men's basketball lead

    Without taking the floor, Missouri Southern has climbed into a first-place tie in the MIAA men’s basketball race.

    February 22, 2012

  • 2.6 magnitude earthquake recorded in Oklahoma

    The U.S. Geological Survey has recorded a 2.6 magnitude earthquake near Wellston in central Oklahoma.
    No injuries or damage is reported.

    January 19, 2011

  • Audit: $108,000 taken from Missouri Veterans Commission JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A former employee of the state auditor’s office embezzled nearly $108,000 while working as an accountant for the Missouri Veterans Commission, the state auditor alleged Monday.

    Stacy Griffin-Lowery was fired by the Veterans Commission in March 2008 and pleaded guilty three months later to a misdemeanor theft charge. She repaid the state $17,665, the auditor’s office said.

    But Missouri Auditor Susan Montee on Monday accused Griffin-Lowery of swiping an additional $90,192 by getting reimbursed for cash advances and purchases made on her personal credit card.

    April 12, 2010