NORMAN — Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Eric Foster testified Wednesday that Lt. Heath Meyer, who was struck July 14, 2017, by another trooper’s vehicle during a car chase, was in the “perfect” position to deploy stop sticks to stop what turned into a deadly pursuit.
“I remember thinking to myself, ‘I wish I was in Meyer’s spot,” Foster said. “He was behind concrete. He was in perfect position.”
So what happened?
Foster, who witnessed the collision, said at the time Meyer was struck by trooper Clint Painter’s vehicle, Meyer was not behind the concrete median barrier on Interstate 35, near NW 27th Street in Moore.
Rewind a few minutes prior to the collision to about 10 p.m. that day. OHP Trooper Rodney Rideaux was approaching the end of his eight-hour shift when he attempted to pull over a Honda Civic, later determined to be driven by 29-year-old D’Angelo Ladon Burgess.
Rideaux testified Tuesday that Burgess told him he did not have a license.
Rideaux said he also noticed that Burgess was not wearing a seatbelt, so he told Burgess to stop outside the vehicle. Rideaux said two male passengers were in Burgess’ vehicle.
“[Burgess] took a step out and as I turned away, he got back in his car and took off at a high rate of speed,” Rideaux said.
A pursuit ensued southbound down North Interstate Drive.
When the chase reached Tecumseh Road in Norman, Burgess turned east and then north to get on I-35 northbound heading toward Moore.
Foster and Meyer were set up near I-35 and NW 27th Street, preparing for the opportunity to deploy stop sticks.
“I remember saying, ‘here they come’ to Meyer,” Foster said.
As the suspect’s car drew closer, both Foster and Meyer both deployed their stop sticks, but Burgess evaded.
Rideaux, who was behind Burgess, said he had to come to a sudden stop to avoid running over the spike strips or hitting another motorist. Painter, who was driving behind Rideaux, said he only had once choice: to veer left.
Painter collided with Rideaux, causing Painter to hit the concrete median barrier. Meyer was transported to a local hospital, where he died 10 days later.
Burgess faces charges of first-degree murder, endangering others while eluding law enforcement, illegal possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.
If convicted, Burgess faces up to life in prison. Oklahoma court records show he has no previous criminal record.
Testimony will continue today.
The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office:
• Johnson, Kyra Raquel, 30, was charged with neglecting care of a person by a caretaker.
• Jones, Nichalos Roderic Al, 33, was charged with domestic assault and battery.
• Baker, Jamie Rebecca, 36, was charged with forgery.
• BNSF railroad crossing and E. Constitution St.: At 7:42 a.m., single vehicle was involved in a non-injury collision.
• 24th Ave. NW and W. Rock Creek Road: At 12:17 p.m., two vehicles were involved in a non-injury collision.
• E. Main St. and 12th Ave. NE: At 3:15 p.m., two vehicles were involved in a non-injury collision.
• W. Gray St. and N. Lahoma Ave.: At 3:19 p.m., two vehicles were involved in a non-injury collision.