Local & Regional

Google Street View


Authorities say hundreds of inmates rioted at an Oklahoma federal prison, taking two guards hostage and refusing to return to their cells.

Caddo County Sheriff Lennis Miller says the riot started late Sunday at the Great Plains Correctional Facility in Hinton after a fight broke out in a yard. He says 150 inmates, some armed with baseball bats and iron pipes, were involved.

The Florida-based prison operator, The GEO Group, Inc., says about 400 inmates caused a disturbance in two yards. Here is a statement sent to KWGS by GEO Vice President Pablo Paez:

Prison Riot Reported at Private Hinton Facility

Jul 10, 2017
GEO Company

The situation is now under control at the Great Plains Prison at Hinton in southwest Oklahoma. The prison is owned and operated by the GEO firm. It houses, primarily, federal inmates.

A disturbance at the facility happened when inmates refused to go to their cells last night. Two prison guards were taken hostage. They have now been released. One guard was injured with lacerations to his face. He was taken to an Oklahoma City hospital.

No inmates escaped from the facility.

In the local news:

  • Lawmakers resume debate on health care reform 2.0.
  • Two people are killed a Tulsa park.
  • EMSA issues another Heat Alert for Tulsa.

Overnight Fire Damages Tulsa Home

Jul 10, 2017
Tulsa Fire Department

Tulsa Fire Fighters are investigating an overnight house fire. The blaze was reported in a neighborhood near 4th and Sheridan. 

There have been no reports of injuries. Flames were visible as the first fire trucks rolled to the scene about two  this morning. 

There is no word on the cause of the fire.


One teenager is dead and five more are injured in a single car crash in Payne County. The crash took place west of Cushing.

The car went out of control at a high rate of speed. It crashed into a tree and then rolled several times before landing into a pasture.

Several of the occupants were ejected from the car.  Names have not been released.

EMSA Issues Another Heat Alert

Jul 10, 2017

EMSA has posted another Heat Alert for the Tulsa. This afternoon's high temperature is expected to be in the mid 90s. 

On Sunday, the ambulance service responded to a half dozen heat related medical problems. All six patients were transported to the hospital.

The following cooling stations are open for business until further notice:

The Salvation Army Center of Hope

102 N. Denver Ave.

Tulsa, OK 74103


Tulsa County Social Services Cooling station

Two Killed in Tulsa Park

Jul 10, 2017
KWGS News File Photo

Two people are dead after a Sunday evening shooting at Tulsa's Crawford Park. The park is located at Apache and North Hartford.

Tulsa Police say there was some sort of ruckus during a ball game at the park and shots were fired. Police are trying to figure out what sparked the shooting.

Authorities say there was a large crowd at the park and there had been lots of drinking. 

Quake Shakes Pawnee County

Jul 9, 2017

Some residents in Tulsa reported feeling an earthquake last night. It happened about 10:20 and was centered some 50-miles northwest of Tulsa in Pawnee County.

The quake was initially reported as a magnitude 3.4 according to the USGS. It was about 2 1/2 miles deep.

No reports of damage or injuries from the quake.

Discipline of Doctors Delayed by Weeks, Months

Jul 9, 2017
Oklahoma Watch

In early May, the Oklahoma Medical Board suspended a Midwest City doctor’s license for six months after an investigation connected two prescription overdose deaths to his prescribing practices.

But it took four weeks before Dr. Dwayne Roush’s suspension became official.

Oklahoma wheat farmers brought in about 100 million bushels of wheat this season, less than a year ago by more than what had been forecast.

The Oklahoman reports the state's harvest started in southwest Oklahoma in mid-May. By the Memorial Day holiday, combines were rolling across most areas of central and southern Oklahoma, before wrapping up in other parts of the state in June.

Tulsa County Booking Photo

A mother has been charged with child abuse murder after her 3-month-old boy died from multiple skull fractures.

Online Tulsa County court records indicate 23-year-old Ashley Ayonna Ledbetter of Tulsa was charged on Friday just hours after the infant was pronounced dead at a hospital about 1 p.m.

A police report indicates the child was hospitalized on Thursday. Doctors say the infant had multiple skull fractures, a lacerated spleen and liver and bruising on both arms.

Matt Trotter/KWGS News / KWGS

An Oklahoma prosecutor says he will re-evaluate the case of a former Tulsa police officer charged with shooting his daughter's boyfriend to death after a mistrial was declared for the third time in nine months.

District Judge Sharon Holmes declared the mistrial Friday in the case of Shannon Kepler. The 57-year-old former Tulsa police officer is accused in the Aug. 5, 2014, shooting death of 19-year-old Jeremey Lake. Lake had just begun dating Kepler's daughter, Lisa Kepler.

Tulsa County Booking Photo

Tulsa Police say a three-month old baby boy has died of injuries suffered in what they are calling child abuse. The boy was taken to the hospital on Thursday. The boy's mother says he fell off furniture. Hospital officials called police when the mother's story was not consistent with the injuries.

The Police have arrested the child's mother, Ashley Ledbetter. She is being held in the Tulsa County jail.

Fatal Crash on Highway 75 in Tulsa County

Jul 8, 2017
File photo

Tulsa Police believe alcohol was a factor in an early morning car crash on Highway 75 near the Gilcrease Expressway interchange. Officials say a car was traveling at a high rate of speed when it crash into the piers for an overpass.

The driver of the car was dead at the scene.

Rogers County

Three more Oklahoma counties will receive federal government assistance to help with expenses following severe weather in April and May.

Gov. Mary Fallin said Friday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved the state's request for public assistance for Dewey, Pawnee and Rogers counties. Eighteen other counties were previously approved.

Funds will be used to help cities, counties and rural electric cooperatives with infrastructure repairs and costs associated with debris removal and damage.

State Impact

Foes of the Keystone XL oil pipeline may appeal a South Dakota judge's decision upholding state regulators' authorization of the project where it crosses the state.

Two groups said Friday they are weighing whether to raise the issue to the state Supreme Court. A judge last month affirmed a Public Utilities Commission decision that was challenged by Native Americans, landowners and others.

Robin Martinez, an attorney for conservation and family agriculture group Dakota Rural Action, called the judge's decision a "disappointment."


An Oklahoma attorney says there's lack of evidence to show that a man feared for his life when he shot a 15-year-old who stole from his fireworks stand.

Jake Ulrich died Tuesday after he and another suspect attempted to steal a box of fireworks.

Thirty-two-year-old Johnny Mize Jr., whose family owns the stand in Tulsa, reportedly exchanged gunfire with the suspects who were in a green truck. Ulrich was later found dead inside the truck.

Police records show Mize told detectives that he couldn't remember what happened after shooting one of the rear tires.

KWGS News photo

For the third time in less than a year a jury deadlocked on Friday and forced a mistrial in the murder case of a former Tulsa police officer accused of killing his daughter's boyfriend, astonishing prosecutors and frustrating the boyfriend's family.

Judge Sharon Holmes declared the mistrial after four hours of jury deliberations over the fate of former Tulsa police officer Shannon Kepler. He was accused of fatally shooting 19-year-old Jeremey Lake in August 2014, not long after Lake started dating Kepler's then-18-year-old daughter, Lisa.

File photo

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Two more Democrats are jumping into the race for Oklahoma's 5th Congressional District that includes most of Oklahoma City.

Kendra Horn, the director of a nonprofit agency, and retired state worker Eddie Ray Porter both said this week that they plan to seek the seat currently held by two-term Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Russell.

The 41-year-old Horn is the executive director of Women Lead Oklahoma, a nonprofit that seeks to engage more women in the civic process. She also served as a press secretary for former U.S. Rep. Brad Carson.

State of Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A former lawmaker from Oklahoma City has agreed to pay the state more than $112,000 for misusing campaign donations for personal expenses.

Former Republican Sen. Kyle Loveless also agreed never to hold public office again, not to become a state lobbyist and never to act as a paid political consultant in Oklahoma.

The conditions are part of a settlement approved Friday by the Oklahoma Ethics Commission. Loveless agreed to the conditions to resolve the ethics investigation and a criminal investigation into his campaign finances.

Tulsa County Booking Photo

A judge says jurors can consider a lesser charge in the trial of a former Oklahoma police officer who fatally shot his daughter's black boyfriend while off-duty.

Judge Sharon Holmes ruled Friday jurors could convict Shannon Kepler of manslaughter, which comes with a sentence of four years to life in prison. Jurors could also convict the former Tulsa police officer of first-degree murder, which carries a life sentence.

Jurors could get the case Friday afternoon.

Prosecutors are trying Kepler for a third time after jurors in his first two trials deadlocked.

Cherokee Nation Welcome Center

Full-time employees of Cherokee Nation will now get five days of additional paid leave if they become foster parents.

Chief Bill John Baker said the new policy is in response to a problem they noticed among new foster families.

"They get the kids, and then all of a sudden, they've got to start taking sick leave or vacation pay or whatever to get them to their doctor appointments or to get them into daycare or into a school," Baker said. "It just takes time to get those things done."

The days may be taken at any time during the first year after placement.

File photo

The 2016–2017 flu season is now Oklahoma’s second-deadliest on record.

A State Health Department death certificate review this week added 14 deaths that happened between February and April to the totals.

"We have 2,394 hospitalizations that have been reported for the season, and we have 110 deaths," said epidemiologist Kendra Dougherty. "And I don't anticipate that the number of deaths will increase much, if at all, unless there's just several other late reports that we find."

The 2014–2015 flu season was Oklahoma’s deadliest on record, with 115 people dying.

In the local news:

  • Tulsa Zoning regulations look at landscaping.
  • Police seek grant to fight prescription drug abuse.
  • A state senator accused of hanky-panky is stripped on leadership positions.



Tulsa County authorities say the person killed after a July Fourth shootout at a fireworks stand was a 15-year-old boy.

Deputies said Wednesday that 15-year-old Jake Ulrich was fatally shot after he and an older man reportedly tried to steal fireworks from the stand Tuesday. Authorities interviewed the 15-year-old's council, Jack Ulrich yesterday afternoon. Ulrich turned himself in on Thursday afternoon. He was released after the interview.

Heat Alert Issued by EMSA

Jul 7, 2017
KWGS News File Photo

EMSA issues a medical heat alert when we respond to five or more suspected heat-related illness calls in a 24-hour period. EMSA is urging citizens to take proactive measures to stay safe in the heat by keeping fluids accessible and drinking plenty of water before going outdoors and during outdoor time. Also, limit outdoor time and take frequent breaks in shade or indoors, especially if having extended time outdoors such as sporting events and yardwork.

EMSA says five patients became ill from the heat yesterday. The five patients included:

East Central University


 Oklahoma's Attorney General is taking away East Central University's control of the chapel on its campus.

The Tulsa World reports that Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter formally requested Wednesday that the university's governing board refer matters of its chapel to his office.

Governor's Office


Gov. Mary Fallin is seeking federal disaster aid for 16 Oklahoma counties affected by severe storms and tornadoes in May.

Storms that swept across the state May 16-20 caused extensive flooding, power outages and dangerous travel conditions in the counties. Thirty-eight tornadoes were reported, including three EF2 tornadoes near Elk City, Hanna and Muskogee. One death and multiple injuries were attributed to the storm.

State of Oklahoma


The head of the Oklahoma Senate says a Republican state senator accused of grabbing an Uber driver and trying to kiss her on the neck while she drove him to a hotel is being relieved of his leadership duties while the allegations are being investigated.

In a letter sent to Senate members on Thursday, Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz said the allegations against Sen. Bryce Marlatt are "very serious in nature and are not tolerated."

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A Republican state senator from Oklahoma is accused of forcefully grabbing an Uber driver and kissing her neck while she drove him to a hotel, a law enforcement official confirmed on Thursday.

The driver reported the incident to Oklahoma City police June 28, two days after she says it happened, by flagging down a police officer at a convenience store a few blocks from the state Capitol.