The Oklahoma Highway Patrol provided few details Wednesday but did release the names of two people killed a week ago in a fiery rollover crash in Creek County when a trooper’s vehicle maneuver spun out their car during a pursuit.
The driver was identified as Joshua Kyle Priest, 33, of Bowlegs. His passenger was Nicole Ann Stephens, 30, of Oklahoma City. The trooper was identified as Darren Potter, who is on paid administrative leave during the crash investigation.
Potter pulled over a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze for speeding on the Turner Turnpike’s westbound lanes near Kellyville about 3:10 p.m. April 29, according to the OHP. The agency said the car pulled out and drove west after the trooper began to approach it on foot.
The ensuing chase lasted 15 minutes, with the sedan exiting the turnpike about 13 miles later on Oklahoma 48 at Bristow, the agency stated. The driver then fled down multiple county roads.
“Trooper Potter performed a Tactical Vehicle Intervention on the vehicle driven by Priest,” according to an OHP news release. “The vehicle departed the roadway, struck a bridge abutment, overturned and caught fire. Both Priest and Stephens were pronounced dead at the scene. Trooper Potter was not injured.”
A tactical vehicle intervention — or TVI — is a maneuver made when a trooper uses his vehicle to make contact with a rear corner of another vehicle to cause it to spin out.
The Tulsa World submitted several written questions Monday morning to the Highway Patrol that weren’t addressed in the news release Wednesday afternoon.
Among those questions were:
• What was the posted speed limit, and how fast was the Cruze clocked by the trooper before he initiated the traffic stop?
• Was the trooper aware of the sedan’s passenger at the chase’s outset or at any time during it?
• How fast were the speeds when the trooper performed the TVI?
• What was the proximity to the bridge when the trooper executed the TVI?
• Why did the trooper do the TVI at that moment and location?
The most recent version of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s pursuit policy the Tulsa World possesses is from 2018. It states that troopers must consider traffic and road conditions as well as speed before using the TVI maneuver.
“As speeds increase, the outcome of the maneuver becomes less predictable, and the chance of serious damage or injury increases as well,” the policy notes.
OHP spokeswoman Sarah Stewart said the TVI took place on an undivided two-way asphalt roadway during normal conditions.
The Highway Patrol’s Investigations Section and Traffic Homicide Unit are handling the case.