Public Safety Commissioner John Scully, like his predecessors, repeatedly turned down interview requests to discuss agency policies, practices and deadly trooper encounters before retiring in September 2021.
Stolen property or traffic infractions prompted all but one of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol vehicular pursuits that killed 18 people the past five years despite policy requiring troopers to weigh if the benefits of apprehension are worth a chase’s risks.
At least eight individuals killed weren’t the eluding drivers. Five were uninvolved motorists, at least two were passengers in fleeing vehicles, and one was a Highway Patrol lieutenant on foot struck by another trooper’s cruiser at high speed.
No troopers have been disciplined in any of the fatal pursuits for which OHP has provided varying levels of documentation to the Tulsa World in response to open records requests during the tenures of three different Department of Public Safety commissioners.
The Tulsa World filed litigation against OHP in October to compel the agency to adhere to a lawsuit the newspaper won in 2010 in which the state courts declared use-of-force records to be public and mandated their release. OHP had delayed and denied for a year as the newspaper tried to get the agency to hand over force records, explain reporting processes and answer questions about policies — prompting the World's court action. 
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Someone told him to “treat it like a shooting.” A supervisor referenced a law not yet in effect that would have protected their communications after the violent crash. "We'll get 'er taken care of," his troop commander said.

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The state agency, which had denied Tulsa World access to the public case file for 20 months, stood by the decision not to review troopers' actions after the fatality.

Tulsa World investigates: Oklahoma Highway Patrol fatality pursuits, deadly shootings

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About 15 minutes after the trooper clocked a car at 88 in a 75 mph zone in April 2020, a 30-year-old woman died with a man she was dating who was fleeing authorities in Creek County.

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No troopers have been disciplined in any of the fatal pursuits for which OHP has provided varying levels of documentation to the Tulsa World after open records requests.

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A Tulsa World analysis is ongoing while OHP has yet to provide documentation after three uninvolved motorists were killed in the past year. Interview requests on pursuit protocols have been repeatedly denied.

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An Oklahoma Highway Patrol memo noting an “alarming increase” of troopers shooting people and at cars focused on the first of three fatal shootings in less than five months in 2019.

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OHP policy stipulates that troopers aren't supposed to fill out use-of-force reports when their actions cause serious injury or death, nor when they attempt to or actually use deadly force.

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Last Sunday, Tulsa World reporter Corey Jones showed that 18 people died in 15 OHP pursuits in the past five years, but that none of the chased drivers were suspected of violent crimes when the pursuit began, the editorial says.

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The footage shows trooper Jonathan Earls pursuing 44-year-old Alexander Larmon of Sapulpa eastbound on Interstate 40 about 70 miles southwest …

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A state trooper received "informal discipline" about weighing a vehicular pursuit's risk against an offense's seriousness after he rolled his …

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The Oklahoma Highway Patrol's pursuit policy prohibits troopers from chasing a fleeing vehicle the wrong way on a road with four or more lanes of traffic. An arrest affidavit in the fatal crash says the eluder drove the wrong way on 41st Street — a five-lane roadway — before turning onto 94th East Avenue.

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Commissioner John Scully said in a news release that he decided to release the protocol because transparency is a high priority for the agency’s administration after he was appointed to the position in September.

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OHP and Creek Co video of Joshua Priest and Nicole Stephens crashing during pursuit

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The Oklahoma Highway Patrol released 44 pages of documents Friday, nearly a year and a half after the Tulsa World first requested records related to the April 7, 2018, incident. The agency provided the newspaper with the chase's video three weeks ago, which doesn't show the crash because the rollover caused an equipment malfunction, according to the agency.

State trooper involved in rollover crash during pursuit

What happened when a trooper chased his stolen cruiser in a stolen car? OHP will only say it was 'not a pursuit'

Pursuit policy OHP fought to keep confidential shows troopers' actions in pursuits should be used only in 'extenuating circumstances'

State troopers pursued a stolen truck into oncoming highway traffic. Young widowed mother questions why.

Seven Oklahoma Highway Patrol chases resulted in eight deaths. All were within policy that OHP keeps secret.

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OHP didn't hand down discipline in either instance. But both situations also appear contrary to the policy's overarching aim to "promote the safety of all persons" and strike a balance between "law enforcement effectiveness and the risk of injury to the public."

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After less than two and a half hours of deliberation Monday, the 12-person panel recommended D’angelo Burgess serve life with a possibility of parole.

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The Oklahoma Highway Patrol pursuit that killed Lt. Heath Meyer quickly turned dangerous and should have been swiftly terminated pursuant to the agency’s own policy, according to an expert witness for the defense.

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Jurors heard testimony on Wednesday from the pursuing trooper who struck Lt. Heath Meyer at a partial road block in Moore on July 14, 2017. The collision happened on northbound Interstate 35 near 27th Street.

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The chase could be construed as a violation of an international law enforcement standard that "the pursuing vehicle shall activate emergency lights, sirens, and cameras, and they shall remain activated for the duration of the pursuit."

Deadly wrong-way pursuit led by troopers on Tulsa highway violates international model policy supported by Oklahoma Highway Safety Office

Seven Oklahoma Highway Patrol chases resulted in eight deaths. All were within policy that OHP keeps secret.

State troopers pursued a stolen truck into oncoming highway traffic. Young widowed mother questions why.

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Cleveland County District Judge Jeff Virgin on Tuesday filed an amended ruling that denies a motion from prosecutors to exclude the Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s pursuit policy from D’angelo Burgess’ first-degree felony murder trial.

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NORMAN — The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has asked a district judge to empty the courtroom if testimony comes up regarding the agency’s pursuit po…

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The international policy standards prohibit chasing vehicles in the wrong direction on divided highways and one-way roads. The former scenario played out on U.S. 75 in May 2017, with an innocent 23-year-old married father losing his life.

Related stories: 

State troopers pursued a stolen truck into oncoming highway traffic. Young widowed mother questions why.

Seven Oklahoma Highway Patrol chases resulted in eight deaths. All were within policy that OHP keeps secret.

Video: "Was it really worth all that?" Widowed mother looks for answers after fatal crash

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One of those killed was a fellow OHP trooper. DPS Commissioner Rusty Rhoades said he found “nothing that concerned me” after reviewing trooper actions in those fatal pursuits.

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The Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Sapulpa Police Department each deemed their respective employees’ actions in the chase to be within policies and procedures.

Seven Oklahoma Highway Patrol chases resulted in eight deaths. All were within policy that OHP keeps secret.

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The Tulsa Police Department and Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office are transparent with their pursuit policies, one of which placed its policy online. Both agencies emphasize the risks involved in pursuing motorists for lesser offenses.

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Staff Writer

I am a general assignment reporter who predominately writes about public health, public safety and justice reform. I'm in journalism to help make this community, state, country and, ultimately, world a better place.