Waukomis Police are still investigating a chase that turned deadly on Saturday night. The victim was a beloved teacher at Chisholm High School in Enid, but his legacy lives on after helping shape countless lives through education.
The suspect in the crash, 23-year-old Beki Bajo, is in critical condition as the Chisholm Schools community comes together to make sure the legacy of John Matousek lives on. An Army veteran and West Point graduate, Matousek commanded his Chisholm High math classroom with a seemingly-invincible presence.
“If there was ever an intruder in the school, he would be the person to stop them,” said former student Jackson Anderson. “All he would have to do is say something and the intruder would leave the campus.”
Anderson had so much respect for Matousek that he created a Facebook fan page to compile favorite quotes and stories over the years, and he says it was Matousek who inspired him to turn his own passion into a career in education. Now the recent college grad is a band instructor in Garber.
“He had such a respect for the profession and he truly thought it was one of the noblest professions,” said Anderson of his teacher. “And that really struck a chord with me, and I thought how great would that be to have such an impact on students’ lives and share my love for music, in my case, with other kids and send that on.”
The inspiration lives on through people like Anderson, although Matousek is no longer here to shape to the minds of the next generation. His life ended, after a suspected drunk driver sped down highway 81 on the wrong side of the road Saturday night as he was chased by Waukomis Police.
Police Chief Robert Asch says the incident started as a road rage call in Enid, but Bajo took off southbound in the northbound lanes at speeds up to 100 mph.
“The suspect vehicle came through the median, took out the Do Not Enter sign, came across Highway 81 almost striking my officer’s vehicle and proceeded northbound on 81,” described Asch.
Multiple drivers dodged Bajo’s car before he collided with Matousek.
“There was no time to react. Within the time my officer made contact to the fatality, there was less than three minutes of time,” said Asch.
As police and state troopers investigate the crash, former students are rallying behind Matousek's family, raising money and sharing their memories. Chisholm Schools Superintendent Roydal Tilley says the district hopes to plan a memorial with the family, and will have grief counselors on campus this week to help cope with this loss. Tilley’s message to the community is, “Keep us in your prayers. We’ve got a lot of hurting kids.”
Matousek’s students are also coming together with the high school to create a scholarship fund in his memory.