Skiatook fatal accidents highlight dangerous intersection

Robert Smith

Two fatal accidents at the same intersection last Saturday have Skiatook officials calling for some kind of safety improvement. Both City Manager Dan Yancey and Police Chief Billy Wakefield have said they think changes are in order.

Skiatook, with a population about 7,950 as of 2018, straddles the line between Tulsa and Osage counties. The intersection where the fatal accidents took place is in Osage County. Oklahoma 20, which is the main drag through town, is the east-to-west portion of the dangerous intersection. Coming into the junction from the south is North 52nd West Avenue, and joining Oklahoma 20 from the north is Javine Hill Road.

Wakefield said Tuesday that there had been 58 accidents at the intersection since 2010, including three fatal crashes. Those fatalities included the two last Saturday. A few minutes after talking to the Journal-Capital, Wakefield sent a text message to say Skiatook police had just worked another accident — two vehicles, no major injuries — at the same intersection.

A caution light at the intersection provides guidance for motorists heading east and west. A red flashing light does the same for the north-to-south portion of the intersection. There is a hill to the west of the intersection, and it can be hard for drivers entering Oklahoma 20 from Javine Hill Road and North 52nd West Avenue to see vehicles coming over that hill from the west in time to take defensive action. The speed limit on the highway at the intersection is 50 miles per hour, Wakefield said.

Wakefield said the first accident Saturday took place about 7:30 a.m. and killed a motorist identified as Gina Meyer, 61, of Avant. Meyer was at the stop sign on North 52nd West Avenue, and a 2018 GMC Sierra pickup, which was hauling a load on a trailer, hit her on the driver’s side of her Kia as she pulled out, the chief said.

The second fatal accident Saturday took place about 5:15 p.m. and killed a motorcyclist identified as Christopher Myers, 27, of Coweta. A report on the accident showed that Myers was westbound on a 2002 Honda motorcycle as he came over the hill to the west of the intersection. According to witnesses, Myers passed multiple other vehicles in a no-passing zone, Wakefield said. The motorcycle reportedly struck the back of a 2006 Toyota truck, and the collision launched the motorcyclist off his vehicle.

‘Something has got to be done,” Wakefield said about the intersection. “This is just senseless. It’s something that we really need to address.”