Oklahoma State Trooper Recalls Arrest Of Timothy McVeigh


Thursday, March 12th 2015, 10:31 pm
By: News 9


It all started with an Oklahoma State Trooper noticing a car with a missing tag. Just hours after the bomb went off at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, Charlie Hanger would make the biggest arrest of his life.

"There was a lot of divine intervention that took place," Charlie Hanger said. "I come up across a yellow mercury, I'm in the left lane, and I see there was no tag on the rear bumper."

That yellow Mercury was the getaway car driven by Timothy McVeigh. He was headed north -- away from Oklahoma City where he has just detonated a massive truck bomb killing 168 people. Hangar says there was no indication of what McVeigh had just done -- instead he was trying to make small talk.

"He kept asking questions about what kind of engine was in my patrol car and how fast it would go," Hanger said. "He wanted to know what kind of weapon I was carrying."

The tragedy unfolding an hour south of them never came up.

"There was a lot of radio traffic about crews responding to OKC, but he didn't ask anything about Oklahoma City," Hanger remembers. "I didn't think that too unusual because in his car where the radio should have been there was a hole in the dash, so I thought he was traveling through our state and didn't think he knew what was going on."

Even though he was behind bars, it wasn't until two days later that law enforcement connected the dots between McVeigh and the bombing.

"I began running that whole thing through my mind to see if there was something I should have picked up on that I didn't, see if there was anything there that I missed," said Hanger. "Then you finally realized that this is an arrest you never dream of making -- it was just a routine traffic stop."

It was a routine traffic stop that led to the arrest of America's most wanted terrorist.

"I think the FBI would have found him, you can't just hide forever," he said. "They're a very competent group of law enforcement professionals. I just happened to be the person who stopped Tim McVeigh. It could have been any officer."