State troopers are struggling to cope, after revealing it was one of their own who collided with Lt. Heath Meyer during a high speed chase Friday night in Moore. Meyer remains in critical condition.
Investigators say the chase started as a traffic stop on the I-35 off ramp at Indian Hills Rd., but when suspect D'Angelo Burgess admitted he did not have a valid license, he fled the scene, reaching speeds upwards of 110 mph.
Two troopers were in pursuit of a gray Honda occupied by Burgess and two others, when the call went out for assistance. Meyer and another trooper set up a road block using stop sticks near the 27th Street exit in Moore ahead of the chase. Meyer deployed his strip of spikes as the car approached.
“Burgess braked rather quickly and was able to navigate in between,” says OHP Capt. Ronnie Hampton.
The troopers behind Burgess, Rodney Rideaux and Clint Painter, were not able to complete the maneuver, however. Instead, their cars collided, and Painter's unit crashed into Meyer as he stood on the side of the highway.
OHP Chief Ricky Adams says it all happened in a matter of milliseconds.
“The accident happening the way it did, in an unavoidable manner like it did, doesn’t help console the guys,” he says.
Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mike Thompson adds, “No one got up that day and put on a uniform and got in their car thinking they would have this result at the end of the day.”
Right now, counselors with the Officer Assistance Program are on hand at the department.
Troopers declined to comment on the extent of Meyer's injuries, but the community has shown an outpouring of support to his family. A gofundme page has already raised more than $10,000, and a Meal Train page shows donations of food planned out for weeks.
“He’s got a long road, so it’s not as if we’re going to have a conclusion to this next week, next month,” says Thompson. “It’s a long hard recovery that he’s facing right now.”
Burgess was arrested just north of the scene, and is facing charges for causing the crash.