A metro teenager who survived a deadly chase and crash with Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers in January came forward with new information.
Troopers ended the chase in southwest Oklahoma City by using a TVI maneuver. The 17-year-old driver died when the SUV spun out and flipped. His brother and girlfriend survived.
“From what I’ve heard, it’s a miracle I’m alive today,” said Chris Hamlet, crash survivor.
Hamlet, 18, was left with a head injury and permanent nerve damage from when the SUV he was riding in crashed near Southwest 119th and MacArthur Boulevard.
Hamlet and a 17-year-old girl survived. His 17-year-old brother Vinnie Hamlet died at the scene.
“It was a hard day for me and everybody else in my family,” said Hamlet.
Hamlet never expected to say goodbye to his brother so soon.
He said hours before the pursuit and crash, his brother and his brother’s girlfriend were driving around in their grandmother's SUV and picked him up.
“They had taken the car for a joyride, planning to return it from what he told me,” said Hamlet.
But when a trooper attempted to stop the teenager, he took off.
“I told my brother to turn and go back to my grandma’s,” said Hamlet. “He got scared and turned the opposite direction.”
At one point Hamlet said he tried to take the wheel but instead his brother continued driving for several more miles.
OHP officials said troopers waited for a safe place to end the pursuit.
“We were going down a rural area and that’s when the car had flipped and I woke up in the back of an ambulance,” said Hamlet. “I wasn’t aware of my brother’s death until about two hours before I was discharged from the hospital.”
“Our percentage of pursuits resulting in a TVIing death are very, very, very small,” said Major Ronnie Hampton, Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
Hamlet said his brother would be alive if troopers would have waited just a little longer.
“My personal opinion is they could have handled it better. They could have waited for gas to run out,” he said.
Neither of the surviving passengers were charged in the chase.