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Innocent Tulsa Driver Killed in Wrong-Way Police Pursuit

A tragic turn of events ended with the death of a 23-year-old, married father following a collision with a vehicle traveling the wrong way on U.S. 75 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The innocent commuter lost his life after the driver of a stolen Oklahoma Natural Gas truck led officers from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol on a chase for nearly 30 minutes. A detailed article on the incident is available here.

The driver of the stolen vehicle has been charged with felony first-degree murder after stealing a truck from Oklahoma Natural Gas and leading troopers on a 30-minute chase through the Tulsa before the fatal crash.

While critics say the deadly wrong-way pursuit violated international models for pursuit policies supported by the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, no troopers were disciplined in the May 2017 chase—putting law enforcement pursuit policies under renewed scrutiny. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol ultimately deemed the troopers’ actions within policies and procedures.

Pursuit Policy Violated

Under the international model policy—supported by the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office—police vehicles are prohibited from chasing vehicles traveling in the wrong direction along one-way roads or divided highways. Newspaper sources indicate they have uncovered another 10 questionable actions that appear to violate the model policy’s standards—including seven vehicular pursuits that resulted in eight deaths during a period of 14 months.

A Dangerous Practice

Law-enforcement pursuit policies can have deadly consequences. Two of the eight recorded deaths are reported to involve innocent drivers struck and killed by fleeing suspects. A third involved a Highway Patrol lieutenant struck by a pursuing trooper’s cruiser. A 2017 report published by the U.S. Department of Justice for the period between 1996 and 2015 reveals one death per day related to law-enforcement chases. Other figures from the study show:

  • Over 6,000 fatal crashes in the period
  • More than 7,000 deaths—355/year
  • 65% of fatalities involved fleeing vehicles
  • 29% of all fatalities were motorists
  • 4% of all fatalities were bystanders
  • 1% of fatalities are occupants of a pursuing vehicle 

We Can Help

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, call Graves McLain right away at 918-359-6600. When you call one of our experienced Tulsa, Oklahoma Car Accident Attorneys, we will speak with you for FREE and determine the best course of action.

We review every detail of your situation at no cost to you—and fight hard to protect your rights. Trust our team, we are here to help. At Graves McLain, you will never pay an attorney’s fee upfront—and you owe us nothing until we win your case. At Graves McLain, we don’t get paid until you do.

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