Wagoner County authorities have released the identity of a man who died July 1 while in the custody of Wagoner County deputies. The Oklahoma State Medical Examiner’s office has positively identified the subject involved in the incident as Jeffrey Krueger of Texas.
Sheriff Chris Elliott said around 9:54 p.m. July 1, a motorist close to the intersection of State Highway 51 and U.S. Highway 69 was spotted driving recklessly, doing donuts in the roadway. A deputy initiated a traffic stop and the driver pulled over into the center turn lane approximately 3/4 of a mile west of the intersection.
The sheriff said when the deputy approached the vehicle, the driver would not follow the officer’s commands.
“The deputy drew a weapon and the suspect reached out and grabbed it. There was a struggle over the gun and the deputy recovered it,” Elliott said. “A second deputy arrived, and when they got the suspect out of the car, a fight started, lasting approximately 4-5 minutes before they got him in handcuffs. That’s an eternity to be fighting someone.”
One of the deputies called for backup, but authorities were caught behind a train passing through town.
“During the middle of the fight, a deputy deployed a taser on the suspect. At some point, he called for an ambulance, and the first people to arrive on scene was EMS within four minutes of the traffic stop,” the sheriff noted.
Elliott said when the suspect was taken into custody and in the recovery position, deputies thought he was having trouble breathing. EMS personnel on scene checked him out.
“He had either quit breathing or trouble breathing at the scene, and they took him to the hospital where he died,” the sheriff said.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation was called in to investigate the case. The sheriff said he is waiting for the OSBI report as well as the pathology report on the suspect.
“Anything anyone says right now is nothing but conjecture and speculation. We just don’t know,” Elliott said. “He did have some kind of injury to the back of the head because he was bleeding, but we are not sure what that injury was. It could have been pre-existing, we just don’t know.”
The two law enforcement officers involved were Deputy Nick Orr and Deputy Kaleb Phillips. Orr has been employed with the WCSO since October of 2017 and Phillips has been with the department since August of 2017.
Sheriff Elliott said both deputies are on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of the OSBI investigation.
As of July 8, the cause of Krueger’s death has yet to be identified. Sgt. Halfacre said when additional information is available, it will be released.
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