UPDATE: 8:32 p.m.
Just before 8:30 p.m., an entry team made up of Stephens County Sheriff Officer's Bobby Bowen, Lt. Rick Lang, Mike Wilson, Oklahoma Highway Patrol officers Kevin Crawford and Mark Smith entered a wooded area south on Waterplant road after the OHP helicopter spotted a heat signature.
Approximately 35 officers from the Stephens County Sheriff’s Office, Duncan Police Department and Oklahoma Highway Patrol responded to a manhunt late Wednesday afternoon after a high speed chase.
At around 3:30 p.m., a Sheriff’s Deputy pulled over Ralph Edward "Bubba" Rawlings III and an unidentified female passenger for a simple traffic stop at Chestnut and "N" in Duncan. Rawlings was identified as a suspect in recent cattle thefts in Stephens County.
“The Deputy ordered him on the ground at gunpoint. The lady complied, the driver wouldn’t comply, he got in a tussle match with the Deputy, saying he ‘would not go back to jail,’ took off running, got in his vehicle and we issued pursuit,” Sheriff Wayne McKinney said. “The woman kept begging him to do what we were asking him to do.”
Rawlings headed north on “N”, then east on Elk with deputies close behind. When he came to a dead end, Rawlings turned his vehicle around and came back west on Elk.
At the intersection of Elk and Waterplant road, McKinney said a spike strip was laid out to flatten his tires.
“OHP threw out a spike stripe, blew his tires out and he lost it and went into the woods,” McKinney said. “I was at the intersection. He went through the intersection, I saw him go airborne, then I saw him go in there.
“By the time he had crashed and we got in on the vehicle, he was already gone.”
The truck came to rest roughly 60 yards into a thick, wooded area just southwest of the Elk, Waterplant intersection. The truck sustained substantial damage. McKinney said Rawlings probably had some injuries as well from the crash. Officers, deputies and Highway Patrolmen quickly formed a perimeter around the wooded area and began sending in units to search. A two K-9 units was also dispatched to search for Rawlings, but he was not found.
A helicopter was being called in at around 6 p.m. with a forward looking infrared imaging system that would pickup Rawlings body temperature in the wooded area.
At 7:47 p.m., a OHP Helicopter equipped with a “FLIR” scanned the surrounding area to find Rawlings.
Around 6 p.m., Rawlings’ texted his ex-wife “I’M DRAWING MY LAST BREATH,” McKinney said. McKinney did not know if Rawlings’ was taking his own life or he was severally injured by the accident.
McKinney said the SCSO has been working with the Oklahoma Cattle Raisers Association and the Department of Agriculture to compile information on the cattle thefts that Rawlings is a suspect for.
“We’ve been looking for him for a couple weeks now,” McKinney said.
Rawlings has been in and out of the penitentiary several times for similar charges.