COMANCHE — A vehicle pursuit across two counties ended just inside city limits of Comanche late Monday night after officers opened fire and shot two suspects in the vehicle.
The suspects, a man and woman, were taken to a local hospital, where he was treated and released to Cotton County sheriff’s custody and she remains under observation. Identities of the two have not yet been released. No officers were injured.
According to Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI), which is now responsible for the investigation of the officer-involved shooting, the chase started in Cotton County shortly before midnight when a deputy spotted a car without a license plate traveling at a high rate of speed. Cotton County deputies pursued the vehicle, which, at one point, “appeared to pull over, but then returned to Highway 53 heading east,” according to OSBI.
OSBI states officers from Walters Police Department attempted to assist the Cotton County deputy with the traffic stop, but the driver headed east into Stephens County, still speeding.
Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney said around 11:30 p.m. Monday, his dispatch received a call from Cotton County requesting assistance in the Walters area.
McKinney said his department was advised Cotton County was in pursuit of a vehicle that was suspected of a “drug related issue.” The vehicle, according to McKinney, turned out to be stolen out of New Mexico and was occupied by a man and woman.
“The pursuit was headed toward Stephens County, and our deputies got in the pursuit with them,” McKinney said. “Comanche PD had set up on (Highway) 53, just west of Comanche to set spike strips — stop sticks is what we call them — to try and stop the vehicle.”
McKinney said when the pursuit reached the intersection on Highway 53 where law enforcement was located, the stop sticks were deployed and the vehicle swerved to miss them.
“(The driver) went off in the ditch, rammed a couple of patrol cars and reversed the vehicle at a high rate of speed and almost ran over three of our deputies,” McKinney said.
OSBI reports show when the vehicle hit the ditch, the driver spun out and deputies from Cotton County tried to “box the vehicle in to keep the driver from returning to the road.” Reports show the driver “put the car in reverse to avoid deputies and that’s when shots were fired.”
According to OSBI, deputies from Cotton and Stephens counties as well as an officer from Walters PD were involved in the shooting.
McKinney confirmed his deputy who fired shots was placed on paid administrative leave pending the review of OSBI and the Stephens County District Attorney’s office.
The man in custody of Cotton County, according to McKinney, is also wanted out of Comanche County for a felony larceny warrant. McKinney expects charges may also come against the suspect in Stephens County.
“I don’t see an issue — this is justified,” McKinney said. “I’m glad nobody got killed, bad guys or good guys.”
The investigation by OSBI is ongoing. A statement from OSBI shows “facts and circumstances may evolve over the course of the investigation as witnesses are interviewed and evidence is collected and analyzed.”
The Banner will update with more information as details become available.