At one point in the chase, the trooper’s radar readout indicated the 2006 Chrysler 300 was traveling at 188 mph as it pulled away from its pursuers.
The Chrysler, at another point during the pursuit on U.S. 169, passed 10 to 12 cars, causing several oncoming vehicles to take evasive action to avoid colliding, records indicate.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper described the Chrysler at another time during the pursuit in court documents as traveling through a 45 mph construction zone at speeds up to 166 mph on southbound U.S. 169 in Nowata County on June 18, 2017, a Sunday afternoon.
In the end, the trooper broke off the chase, citing “equipment and public safety purposes.” However, another law enforcement officer involved in the pursuit had recognized the driver, so a warrant was issued for the driver’s arrest.
The case was one of over 5,000 times that OHP troopers cited someone driving 100 mph or faster since 2015, according to a Tulsa World analysis of ticket data.
Ryan Cannonie, who was working as an assistant district attorney in Nowata County at the time, said he was skeptical when he first saw records indicating the vehicle was traveling at 188 mph.
“I didn’t actually believe it at first; I thought it was an error,” said Cannonie, who is now an ADA in Cherokee County.
It wasn’t until he talked with the trooper that was he able to confirm the speed was correct as written.
But, rather than facing just a speeding ticket, state prosecutors opted instead for a criminal felony charge of endangering others while eluding a police officer, records show.
Cannonie said he usually asks for jail time in these types of cases where a conviction occurs.
The driver, Cody Roy Tatum, 30, of Delaware, Oklahoma, was arrested days later on the warrant. He was sentenced to a five-year prison term with all but six months suspended after pleading no contest to charges, records show.
“This one ended with someone with a felony conviction serving time in Nowata County jail and ... one of the better outcomes that can happen because it could end in death for the person who is running,” Cannonie said. “It can end in death for someone who is pursuing, trying to do their job, or from just some normal, average, everyday person just going about their daily life.”
The case is among a computer data file of every ticket issued by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol between Jan. 1, 2015, and Dec. 31, 2018. State Department of Public Safety officials provided the data file to the Tulsa World following a request under the state Open Records Act.
Over the past four years, OHP troopers issued about 240,000 speeding tickets to state motorists, the analysis reveals.
That works out to about one speeding citation issued every 10 minutes for the past four years.
Of that total number of speeding tickets, troopers have issued 5,364 tickets to motorists driving at least 100 mph on Oklahoma streets and highways between 2015 and 2018, according to the analysis of OHP ticket data.
Speeding 26 mph to 30 mph over the limit will net a fine of $135 with an additional $206 in court-related costs.
Since 2015, troopers issued 301 tickets in Grady County where someone was cited for driving at least 100 mph, the most of any county in the state.
Grady County is located southwest of Oklahoma City and bisected by Interstate 44.
Pawnee County, just west of Tulsa, ranked No. 2 in 100 mph-plus citations with 246 drivers issued tickets.
A Highway Patrol troop assigned to the Cimarron Turnpike issued about 8 in 10 of the 100 mph tickets in Pawnee County, located just west of Tulsa.
The fastest speed resulting in a citation in Pawnee County was 131 mph in 2016, records show.
Lincoln County logged the third most speeding tickets where the accused was clocked at 100 mph or greater, with 225 citations issued.
With the Turner Turnpike bisecting Lincoln County, troopers assigned to the tollway cited 214 motorists for driving in excess of 100 mph during the four-year period. The fastest speed recorded in Lincoln County on a ticket in that time was in 2016 when the motorist was pegged at 122 mph.
The second fastest speed cited by troopers since 2015 was 158 mph, recorded by motorists in Canadian and Custer counties.
Elsewhere, a motorist in Love County was cited in 2017 for driving 155 mph in a 70 mph zone, making that feat the fourth fastest speed to be cited by OHP in the state for the past four years.
No information about the location of the ticket was readily available, but Interstate 35 passes through Love County, which borders Texas. Troopers have written 101 citations in Love County to motorists traveling at least 100 mph.
Cotton County, located south of Lawton, includes portions of I-44 where troopers issued 182 speeding tickets to motorists for driving at least 100 mph. Cotton County ranks No. 10 in overall number of 100+ mph tickets since 2015.
A driver in Pottawatomie County received a ticket in 2016 for driving 145 mph on U.S. 177.
Other instances of drivers being ticketed for extreme speed included the following counties:
• Stephens County, 152 mph in a 70 mph zone
• Wagoner County, 151 mph in a 75 mph zone
• Tulsa County, 150 mph in a 65 mph zone
• Payne County, 146 mph in a 75 mph zone
The oldest 100+ mph cited driver was about 83 years old when he was cited for driving 105 mph in a 65 mph zone in Jefferson County, located west of Ardmore.
An old landfill site breached by floodwaters along Bird Creek at Oxley Nature Center got a closer look by federal, state and city officials. They need to come up with a plan — one that might address more than just one breach site. One thing was clear, however. It won’t be a simple matter.