MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

January 29, 2013

Minivan driver arrested after series of collisions

Pursuit ends when motorist strikes bridge

By Wendy Burton
Phoenix Staff Writer

— A Muskogee woman was arrested after allegedly causing seven collisions at three locations within 15 minutes Monday.

Lonnie Faye Murphy, 47, who is suspected of driving under the influence, was driving a blue minivan north on Main Street about 3:45 p.m. when she collided with three cars at Martin Luther King and Main streets, Officer Justin Wardour said.

One of the three vehicles followed Murphy down Main Street, and its driver called police.

At Main Street and Shawnee Bypass, Murphy hit two more cars, then allegedly rammed a Toyota Camry waiting at the stoplight before speeding east on Shawnee Bypass, Wardour said.

Betty Barnes of Eufaula was standing outside AutoZone on Main Street when the van driven by Murphy drove past.

“I knew she was going to hit someone because of how fast she was going,” Barnes said. “She hit her brakes for a second but then just took off.”

Wardour said the driver who was following Murphy from Main Street followed the van down U.S. 62, exiting and turning back down the road in front of the OG&E power plant. When Murphy tried to turn right under the overpass, her van went off the road, crossed the railroad tracks and struck the bridge.

There were no injuries reported, Wardour said.

“She was wearing her seat belt, and her airbag went off,” he said about Murphy. “She was taken to the hospital to be checked out, though.”

Murphy faces complaints of leaving the scene of a property damage accident, driving under the influence, possession of paraphernalia, possession of a controlled drug substance and assault with a deadly weapon, Wardour said.

“It looks like she intentionally rammed the Camry at Main and Shawnee Bypass,” he said.

Wardour said Murphy had insurance coverage on the van but was driving with an expired license.

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or wburton@muskogeephoenix.com.