OKLAHOMA CITY — An Ada High School basketball player was in fair condition at OU Medical Center Saturday after he was involved in a head-on collision on Interstate 40 west of Oklahoma City Friday afternoon that left a former Ada resident dead and another person hospitalized.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. Pete Norwood said Billy Long, 17, was driving a Ford Mustang that was racing with another car when it reportedly crossed the median and was hit broadside by a 2004 Ford Expedition driven by 35-year-old David Whiteman of Tecumseh. A passenger in Long’s car — 17-year-old Tyler Ford of Quinton — was killed instantly, and Whiteman was taken to OU Medical Center, where he was in critical condition Saturday morning.
Ford, a former AHS student, was the son of Denise Faulkenberry, Ada.
Long and Ford were both ejected and thrown more than 50 feet, and Norwood said seatbelts probably wouldn’t have been a factor, even if the they had been used.
“The car seats were knocked completely out of the car, so if they were wearing a seat belt they would still have been ejected,” Norwood explained.
Long, an AHS junior who was the Cougars’ starting center this season, suffered two broken collarbones, a broken right arm, a collapsed lung and lacerations to his leg. Norwood said he was surprised that anybody in the Mustang survived the collision.
“I’ve been working accidents for 11 years and I don’t know how (Long) survived,” Norwood said. “The car is just mangled. You couldn’t tell it was Mustang except for the wheel covers. This was one of the worst wrecks I’ve ever seen.”
Norwood said the drivers of the two Mustangs could face complaints ranging from reckless driving to vehicular homicide. The second Mustang left the scene of the accident, and troopers were still searching for the driver Saturday.
“It’s up to the DA, but they could face some serious charges,” Norwood explained. “The second car was a gray Mustang, and we’d like to talk to that driver if anybody has any information.”
First-year Ada basketball coach Scott Lowrance was notified about the accident Friday evening and said he would visit Long during a visit to the Oklahoma City area Saturday.
“I’m on my way to Edmond to spend Christmas Eve with my wife’s family, and I plan to go by the hospital and talk to him,” Lowrance said. “I think a lot of people are going to be affected by this.
“It’s a tragic situation,” he added. “Basketball didn’t remotely enter my mind when I heard the news. My main concern is for Billy’s well-being and hoping he gets through the situation.
“I was at Choctaw two years ago when our quarterback got killed in a car accident — he was a great kid and one of the leaders of our school,” Lowrance continued. “This year, Caitlin (Wooten) was in my English class, but this is the first time something like this has involved a player of mine.”