CLEVELAND COUNTY, OK (KSWO)- An Oklahoma Highway Patrol investigation has revealed that OHP Lieutenant Heath Meyer in critical condition following a chase and crash was actually struck by an OHP vehicle during the pursuit.
"We ask these men and women to do an incredibly dangerous job," DPS Commissioner Michael C. Thompson said. "The agency is going through a tremendous amount of pain."
A traffic stop around 10:30 Friday evening in Cleveland County led to a chase on I-35 into Oklahoma County. Dangelo Ladon Burgress, 38, was the driver of the vehicle. Police stopped him for following too closely. When officers asked Burgess to step out of his vehicle, he did briefly then he got back in his car and took off at a high rate of speed. The troopers then pursued.
Lt. Meyer responded and deployed stop sticks but Burgess braked quickly and was able to avoid both sets of stop sticks. The two OHP troopers pursuing Burgess, also braked quickly and the vehicles collided, striking Lt. Meyer, who was outside his own vehicle on the left-hand side of the roadway.
Burgess was taken into custody a short time later by other Troopers and was found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia. Burgress faces felony charges of eluding an officer, causing great bodily injury while unlicensed, failure to comply with compulsory insurance law, failure to stop for the roadblock, following too closely, failure to properly wear seatbelt, operating a vehicle while driver license suspended, and the possession, delivery, sale or manufacture drug paraphernalia.
A passenger, Sonny Ramirez, 30, was later discovered to be wanted on kidnapping charges in an unrelated incident and was taken into custody.
Meyer remains in critical condition at an Oklahoma City hospital.