Wagoner County Sheriff candidate Chris Elliott of Broken Arrow announced his candidacy last week after 27 years at the Tulsa Police Department.
In an interview with KJRH just after his announcement, Elliott said “I’ve never had any disciplinary issues at the Tulsa Police Department,” yet a 1992 story in the Tulsa World says Elliot faced disciplinary action over an unauthorized drag race that had overheated the brakes on the police car he was racing.
The cars received minor damage, and the disciplinary action was purported to be minor, but it was indeed disciplinary action.
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker issued a statement Wednesday regarding the U.S. Treasury’s decision to remove President Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill.
Chief Baker’s statement is as follows:
“Andrew Jackson defied a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and forced the removal of our Cherokee ancestors from homelands we’d occupied in the Southeast for millennia. His actions as president resulted in a genocide of Native Americans and the death of about a quarter of our people. It remains the darkest period in the Cherokee Nation’s history. Jackson’s legacy was never one to be celebrated, and his image on our currency is a constant reminder of his crimes against Natives. It’s been an insult to our people and to our ancestors, thousands of whom died of starvation and exposure and now lie in unmarked graves along the Trail of Tears. This is a small but meaningful vindication for them, and for our tribal citizens today. The Cherokee Nation applauds the work of Oklahoma Senator James Lankford, the U.S. Treasury and all those who recognized the injustices committed at the hands of President Jackson, and worked to replace his image with the image of Harriet Tubman, whose legacy represents values everyone can be proud of.”
A measure to track and keep repeat impaired drivers off Oklahoma roads passed the Senate unanimously Tuesday. House Bill 3146, authored by Sen. Greg Treat and Rep. Mike Sanders, will require all driving under the influence (DUI) cases to be handled by courts of record.
“This bill closes a loophole that has put Oklahomans’ lives in danger by allowing repeat drunk drivers to get multiple DUI convictions in various jurisdictions without being held accountable,” said Treat, R-Oklahoma City. “There are 350 courts not of record in Oklahoma that don’t report DUI convictions to a statewide database. Therefore, someone could get arrested twenty or more times in multiple jurisdictions for DUI and because those convictions aren’t put on their record they’re treated like a first time offender and receive only minimal punishment.”
Currently, Oklahoma City and Tulsa are the state’s only municipal courts of record. Only those convicted in these two courts are held accountable on subsequent offenses because their crimes are reported to the Oklahoma Supreme Court Network.
Under HB 3146, municipal courts not of record will no longer be eligible to hear DUI cases. Any municipality with a population of 60,000 or more has the option to create a court of record. DUI cases in jurisdictions with courts not of record will be referred to district court. Arresting municipalities will still receive a portion of the fines.
Rep. Sanders and his family were the victims of a drunk driver who rear-ended them last year. The individual had six open containers in his vehicle and four DUI convictions in the previous year. He received another DUI citation two weeks after hitting the Sanders’ family.
“This is an important tool for prosecutors to be able to better flag and appropriately prosecute repeat drunk drivers,” said Sanders, R-Kingfisher. “The security of Oklahoma families when they are driving on our roads should always be a top priority in public safety.”
Dakota Lamountain, 20, of Vinita died yesterday afternoon when the motorcycle he was riding missed a curve and hit a cable barrier just north of Tahlequah.
The wreck happened on Oklahoma 10, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, and Lamountain was going too fast, according to the report. He tried to negotiate a left turn, lost control and struck the barrier on the right side of the road.
He was pronounced dead at Northeastern Health Services.
A grand jury has indicted Wagoner County Sheriff Bob Colbert in a bribery case and is calling for his immediate suspension and eventual removal from office.
In the case, Colbert is accused of forcing a motorist and his passenger to give him $10,000 in order to get out of jail.
Captain Jeffrey T. Gragg is also indicted in the case.
The grand jury said it believed the sheriff and the captain conspired to receive a bribe or to commit extortion through threats, did so and then extorted through threats in a three-count indictment.
Gragg stopped Torell Wallace on Dec. 13, 2014, and found in his car $10,000 in cash wrapped in plastic, dryer sheets and odor killer. The sheriff joined him at the traffic stop. Wallace and his teenage passenger were told they were under arrest for possession of drug proceeds, but were later released from jail after they agreed to give up claims to owning the money, according to the indictment.
The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program will host a series of information sessions for persons interested in obtaining information about CASA or learning what steps are necessary to become a CASA volunteer and act as an advocate for an abused or neglected child. The schedule and locations for upcoming sessions can be found below.
Muskogee: March 8th at noon, Buffalo Wild Wings, 1130 West Shawnee
Wagoner: March 9th at noon, Lopez Grill, 621 West Cherokee Street
Muskogee: March 22nd at noon, Harmony House, 208 South 7th Street
Coweta: March 23rd at noon, Sports Page Steakhouse, 13747 OK-51
The public is invited to have lunch with the CASA staff, volunteers and others who are interested in making a difference in the life of a child. Meals will be provided by the CASA for Children Program. Door prizes will be awarded at the end of each session.
CASA volunteers are needed to advocate for abused and neglected children in Wagoner, Sequoyah, and Muskogee Counties. The next training is scheduled to begin March 28th and run through April 30th.
For more information about CASA or to request an application, call 918 685-1501 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Both northbound lanes of US 69 at the county line of Muskogee and Wagoner counties is blocked due to a two-car collision, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
Two adults were transported to Tulsa hospitals, according to Rebecca Williamson of Muskogee County EMS. There is no indication what the injuries were.
We will post more as it becomes available.
6 a.m. UPDATE: The wreck, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, was caused by a drunk driver.
Mary McMillen, 38, of Tahlequah, was driving southbound in the northbound lane of US 69 and her vehicle struck a Nissan Sentra driven by Justin Cole Austin, 25, of Tulsa, head-on. McMillen was driving under the influence of alcohol, the patrol reported.
Both drivers were wearing seatbelts, and both were taken to St. John’s Hospital in Tulsa by Muskogee County EMS, where they were admitted with trunk, internal and leg injuries. Both were in stable condition.
A Wagoner man was taken by helicopter to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa in critical condition after a three-vehicle wreck on southbound US 69 late last night, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
JD Wilson, 57, was riding a 2015 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, which left the roadway on the right for an unknown reason, according to the patrol.
The Harley struck a guard rail and Wilson was ejected, but the bike kept going, re-entering the roadway, being then hit by a Hyundai Santa Fe and a Freightliner Semi. The Hyundai, whose driver was not injured, continued driving. The semi struck the median of the highway, caught fire and came to rest in the median.
The semi’s driver, Pacheco Sanchez, 51, of Mission, Texas, was treated and released at Wagoner Hospital for his injuries.
Wilson sustained injuries to his head, arm, leg and internal and external trunk. He was not wearing a helmet, and troopers said they detected the odor of alcohol on him.
An open house and reception for the 1966 basketball team at the Wagoner City Historical Museum is set for 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13.
All players, fans coaches and students are invited. The reception will have old annuals on display.
School photos will also be there.
A carved maple tree statue entitled “Perseverance” designed by five Cherokee artists was unveiled and dedicated Wednesday in the lobby of the Wilma P. Mankiller Health Center in Stilwell.
The statue was commissioned to enhance the entrance of the new 28,000-square-foot Mankiller Health Center addition that opened in 2015.
“We have a new world-class health care facility in Stilwell that is serving the needs of the Cherokee people, in the spirit of the way Chief Mankiller served our tribal nation. Local Cherokee artisans created a beautiful piece commemorating her leadership and we are proud to showcase this new sculpture as it welcomes future patrons and visitors into the clinic’s lobby,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker “It represents the strength and courage of the Cherokee people.”
The nearly 12-foot tall statue is adorned with three turtles exceeding boundaries and expectations by climbing a tree, representing the Cherokee people. The turtles represent striving toward the goals and ideals set by Cherokee ancestors. Stones at the base of the statue represent the difficult paths that the ancestors walked. The statue represents principles of the Cherokee people and former Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller: goals of community, prosperity and working together. At the top of the statue sits a pearl-inlaid butterfly, representing Chief Mankiller, who lived in the Rocky Mountain community near Stilwell, and her hopes for the bright future of the Cherokee people.
A group of Cherokee artists-Devon Tidwell-Isaacs, Daniel Flynn, Roger Cain, Shawna Cain and Reuben Cain-which go by Stilwell I.T., said the statue symbolizes the Cherokee people’s endurance to overcome and ability to prosper.
“It is very important that we realize we need to be strong as a community and that while we face a lot of hardships and difficulties and obstacles that we are perseverant and resilient as a people, and this artwork is a testament to those qualities,” Tidwell-Isaacs said.
The statue also has a carved quote in the trunk of the tree from Chief Mankiller. It says, “The secret of our success is that we never, never give up.”
Wilma P. Mankiller Health Center employees donated rocks from local communities for the base of the statue. The maple tree used for the statue is from Asheville, North Carolina, part of the Cherokee people’s original homeland.
The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety has announced that an error has been found on some Oklahoma driver licenses and identification cards. The holographic security emblem that should appear on the front of each individual license or card may, in some instances, appear on the back or not at all.
License holders and ID card holders are asked to examine their documents to make sure the image appears on the front. Please see attached image for an example of the correct holographic image.
DPS officials say the licenses and ID cards with incorrect or missing images are still considered valid, but will likely cause delays when the holder attempts to use them for personal identification in places such as airports, banks or federal buildings.
Those who have licenses or ID cards with incorrect images are encouraged to return to the Motor License Agency (Tag Agency) where the document was issued. A corrected license or ID card will be issued at no charge. Individuals are urged to do so at their earliest convenience.
To confirm which tag agency issued the faulty license or ID card, the bearer may check the four-digit number printed at the top right corner of the photograph on the card. The corresponding list of tag agencies is posted on the DPS website at https://www.dps.state.ok.us/dls/motor_license_agents.php.
Public inquiries may be directed to the DPS Driver License Help Desk at 405-425-2020.
Muskogee policer are investigating a case of what is believed to be elder abuse, according to a police report.
The incident, which occurred at the York Manor Nursing Center at 500 S. York St., happened when Janiece Smith was duct taped to her bed, allegedly because she “kept falling down.”
A spokeswoman at the nursing home, who identified herself only as “Melissa” or “Martha,” said, “I’m sorry, I do not have no comment on what you’re asking. Goodbye.”
Police have yet to return a call seeking comment.
A new statewide index is being launched this February to measure and promote skills that better prepare students to compete in a global economy. The Oklahoma Innovation Index describes, ranks, and categorizes what teachers do in their classes that meet criteria for being creative. The Index is the first in the nation to measure these skills in K-20 schools.
During the research phase, researchers will test the usefulness of the Index, its effectiveness and impact on learning. The Index is designed to help schools to teach, foster, and promote skills that develop imagination and creativity. Twelve public schools in Oklahoma and Arkansas, including schools in the A+ Schools network, will be participating in the study.
To learn more about the Oklahoma Innovation Index: http://stateofcreativity.com/oklahoma-innovation-index/
We are receiving multiple reports of a shooting and robbery in McIntosh County.
The robbery is reported to be a bank in Eufaula, but no official sources have confirmed that.
The shooting may have been from law enforcement, but official sources have yet to confirm that, either. Other reports state that a bank officer was shot.
We are actively pursuing this case.
Eyewitnesses say it’s possible that a second person was shot.
UPDATE: One person is dead, according to an official source that asked to not be named. The victim may be an officer of the bank. Suspects may be in custody, the source said.
The bank is Bank of Eufaula, 102 N. Main.
The robbers left the bank and were pursued by Oklahoma Highway Patrol, which fired at least one shot. One suspect may have been hit.
The suspects were stopped near Checotah at an RV park on US 69. Shots were fired.
UPDATE: One of the suspects was killed by an OHP officer, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
The former Tulsa County jail administrator and sheriff’s office spokesperson started his new job at Wagoner County last week. Shannon Clark is now a deputy with the Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office. The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office fired Clark last year after a poor evaluation of his job performance.