Game warden in fatal black-out crash was driving legally, OHP says
BY AMANDA BLAND & JERRY WOFFORD World Staff Writers
Saturday, November 24, 2012
11/24/12 at 7:53 AM
WAGONER - A working game warden involved in a fatal collision was driving after dark with his headlights off but was in compliance with state law, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol spokesman said Friday.
Alan Hogue, 38, was pronounced dead at Wagoner Community Hospital early Thursday after a collision with the game warden's truck. Hogue was reportedly driving a 2004 Yamaha dirt bike that was not legal for road usage, OHP Lt. George Brown said.
The bike lacked a headlight and did not have a registered tag, Brown said.
The point of impact was determined to be in the eastbound lanes, indicating that Hogue's westbound motor bike was being driven left of center.
The bike collided head-on with an eastbound pickup driven by Wagoner County game warden Benjamin Haff, 30, around 12:30 a.m. on Wagoner County Road 760, according to the OHP.
Hogue was not wearing a helmet and smelled of alcohol, troopers noted in an accident report.
Haff was patrolling for hunters using spotlights to hunt deer near a game refuge in the area, Brown said. The game warden was driving in "black-out conditions" and was "totally within the scope of the law," he said.
Black-out conditions describe a patrol procedure during which all exterior lights on the enforcement vehicle are deactivated, and interior lights are obscured.
Nels Rodefeld, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, said game wardens increase their patrols using black-out conditions during deer season to catch people illegally hunting at night.
"Black-out driving is a patrol technique that is used to find and apprehend persons who are shooting high-powered rifles at night from public roadways," Rodefeld said. "Obviously that's a crime that's in and of itself quite dangerous and poses a significant threat to public safety, not to mention wildlife."
State statutes allow working game wardens to operate in an official department vehicle "without lighted headlamps, clearance lamps or other illuminating devices" on roads, excluding interstate and state highways and roads within incorporated areas.
The statute is designed to give game wardens an advantage while searching for people hunting illegally at night, Rodefeld said.
Rodenfeld said he could not comment on the specific incident.
Original Print Headline: OHP: Game warden in crash was driving legally
Amanda Bland 918-581-8413 Jerry Wofford 918-581-8310