Survival Flight arrives to fiery crash

A Survival Flight helicopter hovers above the thick smoke and accident scene from a Wednesday morning wreck south of the Comanche/Cotton County line between an SUV and an oil tanker truck.

GERONIMO — Two drivers remain in critical condition following Wednesday’s fiery crash between an oil tanker and an SUV at the Comanche/Cotton County line.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported that Yolanda L. Powell, 39, of Lawton, was flown by Survival Flight to OU Health University of Oklahoma Medical Center in Oklahoma City where she was admitted in critical condition with head, arm, leg, and internal/external trunk injuries.

Bobby J. Starcher, 56, of Marlow, also was flown to OU Health University of Oklahoma Medical Center where he, too, was admitted in critical condition with head, arm, leg, and internal/external trunk injuries, according to the OHP.

Powell was driving an Isuzu SUV southbound on U.S. 277 shortly after 11:50 a.m. Wednesday, when, for an unknown reason, she crossed the center line into the northbound lane and head-on into an oncoming Kenworth oil tanker truck driven by Starcher, according to Trooper Jacob Dickinson’s report. The SUV went off the roadway to the right and caught fire. The Kenworth went off the roadway to the right and rotated counter-clockwise before overturning a ¼-time. When it landed on its passenger side, it, too, caught fire about 2/3-mile south of the countyline. It’s unknown if Starcher was wearing a seatbelt.

Powell, who was trapped inside her SUV for about 20 minutes, was freed by Walters firefighers using the Jaws of Life, according to Dickinson. She was wearing a seatbelt.

Geronimo and Flower Mound’s volunteer firefighters were joined by Lawton Fire Department in assisting with the rescue and battle against fire that threatened a neighboring home and a power pole.

Due to petroleum products burning in the fire, the Department of Environmental Quality was called.

The Comanche County Sheriff’s Department and Oklahoma Department of Transportation assisted with traffic control.

Dickinson reported that the drivers’ conditions and the cause of the wreck remain under investigation.

Written by Scott Rains: scott.rains@swoknews.com.

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