Oklahoma Highway Patrol lieutenant struck by one of his own Friday
Lt. D. Heath Meyer was sitting in the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Troop A headquarters with his troop commander and another lieutenant Friday night when they heard the chase start.
Meyer, who responded, had laid stop sticks on Interstate 35 near N 27 in Moore when troopers Rodney Rideaux and Clint Painter came up the highway in hot pursuit.
The troopers, attempting to avoid the stop sticks, struck one another. Painter's vehicle then struck Meyer, critically injuring him.
"This incident happened, literally, in four-tenths of a second. No time for anyone to react," Oklahoma Highway Patrol Chief Ricky Adams said.
Meyer, 43, remained in critical condition Monday, Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Thompson said. Authorities declined to release further information on his injuries.
The driver of the fleeing vehicle, Dangelo Ladon Burgess, 28, was taken into custody Friday night.
It was not the first time Burgess and Meyer had crossed paths.
On June 11, 2016, Burgess was arrested after a pursuit that ended when he crashed the car. Meyer worked that crash, Adams said.
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Burgess was out on bail on charges in Oklahoma County District Court of aggravated attempting to elude a police officer, driving under the influence, transporting an open container and driving without a license, court records show. His next court date in the matter is July 31.
Rideaux was the trooper Friday who originally stopped Burgess in the southbound lanes of I-35 just north of the Indian Hills Road off-ramp. Burgess stepped out of the car for a moment, got back in and sped off, eventually heading north on I-35, Capt. Ronnie Hampton said.
Painter joined in the pursuit near Shields Boulevard, Hampton said.
The chase ended near Interstate 240 and Post Road. Speeds during the chase exceeded 110 mph, Hampton said.
Burgess now faces complaints of attempting to elude a police officer resulting in great bodily injury, causing a collision resulting in great bodily injury while unlicensed, failure to stop at a roadblock, following too closely, failure to wear a seat belt, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and failure to carry insurance, Hampton said.
Two passengers, Sunny Ramirez and Lelenjay Warner, were interviewed and released at the scene that night, Hampton said.
Two additional law officers attempting to rush to the scene, an Oklahoma City police officer and another trooper, were involved in separate crashes Friday night.
Burgess remained without bail in the Cleveland County jail.
"Our heart goes to the Meyer family, but it also goes out to the people that were involved in this who were almost inconsolable," Thompson said. "Tragedy occurs when you do dangerous jobs and that's what happened Friday night."