An Oklahoma City man now sits in the Cleveland County jail after he led officers on a high-speed chase Saturday afternoon, before Norman police shot him. He was released from the hospital Sunday.
Norman police first responded to a reported suspicious person and vehicle near 168th Avenue N.E., but when officers spotted the vehicle matching the description, the driver took off and led police on a pursuit.
"We don't encourage anyone to run from the police, but for whatever reason, this fellow decided to, which is never a good idea, especially if you're not familiar with the roads," Norman Police Captain Tom Easley said.
Jimmie Wheeler, 44, led police on a 35-minute chase Saturday afternoon that started in Norman and ended only three miles away at 192nd Avenue and E. Rock Creek Road, where Wheeler wrecked his car.
"He failed to negotiate the turn and crashed out, one thing led to another," Easley said.
Wheeler got out of his car, and Norman police said his suspicious behavior led officers to fire shots. Wheeler suffered a gunshot wound to his torso and was taken to the hospital. A Cleveland County deputy was also present but did not fire a weapon.
Wheeler's car was not easily visible, because it was about 50 yards down in the brush. Police think the rural roads played a part in ending the pursuit.
A family living nearby the crash site on 192nd Avenue said they were asleep when they heard a big boom from Wheeler's car and were frightened.
"I've seen some wrecks, like two or three over the years where they just didn't get stopped in time," Jerry Workmon, who has lived in East Cleveland County for 17 years, said.
"It's no worse than in the city," said Workmon. "It's just that it's big news here, because the concentration of people is not as big, so it gives us something to talk about."
Wheeler was booked in the Cleveland County jail for eluding a police officer. He already had two active Oklahoma County arrest warrants for the alleged crimes of robbery with a firearm and possession of a firearm after a felony conviction.
The Norman police officers involved are in good condition and on routine administrative assignment pending the investigation.