Local & Regional

Oklahoma Watch

 

A man who pleaded guilty to shooting and seriously wounding an Oklahoma police officer has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

The Oklahoman reports that 27-year-old Cory Lee Hartsell of Midwest City pleaded guilty to assault and battery with a deadly weapon for shooting Valley Brook Officer Brian Southerland in south Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of investigation says badly burned human remains discovered in a vehicle in western Oklahoma have been identified as those of an 86-year-old man.

Investigators said Friday that the remains of Billy Wayne Wilson of Clinton were discovered in a burned vehicle on March 3 in Washita County. The remains were identified by DNA analysts at the OSBI Forensic Science Laboratory.

OHP

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol continues to investigate the pursuit that began late Friday evening in Cleveland County and traveled north on Interstate 35 into Oklahoma County. During the pursuit, OHP Lieutenant Heath Meyer was struck by a vehicle while outside of his patrol car, resulting in critical injuries.

 

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is asking for the public’s help in locating witnesses who:

Man Killed By Freight Train

Jul 16, 2017
BNSF

An Oklmulgee man is dead after being hit by Burlington Northern-Santa Fe freight train near Schulter. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the incident happened just before noon, Saturday.

The Patrol says 30-year-old Karl Mathew Clayton was walking south bound on the tracks. The train engineer sounded the train's horn for about a mile. The Patrol says Clayton never responded to the horn. The train was unable to stop.

The Patrol says Clayton was dead at the scene.

Schools Use Loophole to Exceed Limit for Pre-K Classes

Jul 16, 2017
Broken Arrow Public Schools

Small classes are a cornerstone of pre-K, but some districts are now raising a long-held cap on the number of students, a move that could dilute Oklahoma’s most admired and arguably successful educational initiatives.

Like many other states, Oklahoma limits pre-K classes to 20 students. When there are more than 10 students, the classroom teacher is supposed to have a full-time assistant.

But a 2016 change in state law has inadvertently opened the door to larger pre-K classes.

Tulsa Police

The results of an internal investigation into a white Oklahoma police officer recently acquitted in the fatal shooting an unarmed black man may not be known now that the officer has resigned.

A lawyer for Officer Betty Shelby says Friday her client sent a letter of resignation to the Tulsa police department. Shelby's resignation is effective Aug. 3.

Shelby was acquitted of manslaughter in May in last year's shooting death of Terence Crutcher.

Oklahoma universities and colleges have increased tuition, cut programs, faculty and staff in an effort to make up for those cuts.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved tuition increases in June at 25 of the state's 27 public colleges and universities.

The study found that appropriations for Louisiana, West Virginia, Alaska, Kentucky, Arkansas and Kansas have also decreased over the last five years.

Ks0stm/Wikimedia Commons

Researchers running highly detailed simulations using satellite images, radar and ground-based weather stations were able to predict a specific violent storm 90 minutes before it hit a western Oklahoma town and killed a man two months ago.

The National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma, said Friday the still-experimental forecast system could give emergency planners up to three hours' notice of upcoming bad weather. Such notice is key for places where large crowds gather.

Carol Durkee

A man accused of setting off a pipe bomb outside an Air Force recruiting office in Oklahoma has been ordered to undergo a mental evaluation.

The Tulsa World reports that U.S. Magistrate Frank McCarthy ordered the evaluation Friday for 28-year-old Benjamin Roden after defense attorneys questioned whether he can assist in his own defense.

Noting his recent apparent mental decline, McCarthy says Roden may be suffering from a mental health issue that has rendered him incompetent to prepare for trial.

Delays Begin Monday on I-244

Jul 15, 2017
Google Street View

 

As part of a bridge rehabilitation project scheduled for overall completion in summer 2018, delays can be expected in the following areas:

  • The left lane of north and southbound Memorial Dr. will be closed over I-244 from 9 a.m. Monday through Friday. Drivers should plan ahead for extra travel time in this area or seek an alternate route. 
  • The two right lanes of eastbound I-244 will be closed between Harvard Ave. and Yale Ave., and also at Memorial Dr. from 7 p.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Changes Coming To Tulsa Jail Visitation Policies

Jul 15, 2017
TCSO

In an effort to save money the Tulsa Jail will trim the number of jail visitation days from six to two. KWGS News has learned the changes will be officially announced in a news conference on Monday.

Some of the notable changes will include:

Oklahoma programs to prevent teen pregnancy will lose $3.9 million dollars in federal funding each of the next two years after the Trump administration suddenly decided to end early five-year grants supporting such programs nationwide.

Youth Services Tulsa Executive Director David Grewe said Oklahoma’s teen birth rate has gone from 50 per thousand in 2010 to 35 per thousand — still the second-highest in the U.S.

Tulsa County Sheriff's Office

Charges have been filed against the man who fatally shot a 15-year-old after the boy and his adult cousin allegedly stole fireworks from him on the Fourth of July.

Johnny Mize, 32, is charged with first-degree manslaughter. District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler alleges Mize shot Jake Ulrich in anger or that he did so unnecessarily during the theft.

According to an earlier account from the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, shots were exchanged before Ulrich and his 27-year-old cousin, Jack, drove away from the fireworks stand near 65th West Avenue and Charles Page Boulevard.

Tulsa Police

Less than two months after she was acquitted of manslaughter and returned to work, Officer Betty Jo Shelby is resigning from the Tulsa Police Department.

Shelby issued a statement today through the Tulsa chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police. She said her desk job makes her feel isolated from her fellow officers and the citizens of Tulsa.

Shelby has been at TPD in that capacity since being reinstated in late May.

Quake Felt Across Oklahoma

Jul 14, 2017

The ground started shaking this morning just before nine o'clock. A 4.2 magnitude earthquake shook the state at 8:47 a.m. 

It was centered near Stroud in Lincoln County. It was widely felt in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. The shaking from the quake was sustained. The U.S.G.S says the earthquake was about five miles deep.

No immediate reports of damage or injuries. An after shock of 3.8 stuck the same area about 20 minutes later.

In the local news:

  • "Aero" is the name for Tulsa's Bus Rapid Transit system.
  • A Tulsa Police Sergeant is arrested for assaulting another officer.
  • Porter readies for the 51st Annual Peach Festival this weekend.

Work Planned for I-244 Bridges

Jul 14, 2017
KWGS News photo

Bridges over I-244 are about to be repaired. That will mean lane closures over the expressway, as well as below, on the expressway.

The bridges are at Harvard, Pittsburg, Yale and Memorial.

O-Dot says the work is expected to take the rest of summer.

OK House

 

An Oklahoma lawmaker who is holding an interim study on a ballot question that would legalize medical marijuana wants to discuss what policies the state would implement if the initiative passes.

Republican Rep. John Paul Jordan of Yukon says  he wants to make sure voters are informed and that the Legislature is ready for whatever voters decide.

Jordan says he wants to know which agency would oversee the law's implementation, if marijuana sales should be taxed, and if the state needs new policies on workers' compensation and banking.

Magellan MidStream

 

Authorities have allowed residents to return to homes evacuated after about 50,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from a cut underground pipeline in Central Texas.

Cleanup crews worked all day Thursday to clean up the oil spilled after a contractor accidentally cut the Longhorn pipeline near Bastrop. That's about 30 miles east of Austin.

A spokesman for Magellan Midstream Partners of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Bruce Heine (hyn), says no one was injured by in the spill.

About 15 households were displaced by the spill.

File photo

 

President Donald Trump plans to nominate an Oklahoma judge to a position as a federal judge.

The White House announced Thursday that Trump will nominate U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Barnes Goodwin to fill a position on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.

Goodwin has served as a magistrate judge in Oklahoma's western district for the past four years and presides over initial proceedings in felony cases as well as overseeing civil and misdemeanor cases.

Tulsa Flag

City councilors have balked at a vote to adopt the winner of a citizen-led campaign to adopt a new Tulsa flag.

After surveys, design solicitations and an expert panel, the one with blue and beige fields above and below a gold Native American shield with a red circle and beige star in its center got more than half the 8,000 votes on the three finalists.

City of Tulsa/Tulsa Transit

City and transit officials unveiled branding and design concepts Thursday for the bus rapid transit line along Peoria Avenue.

It will be known as Aero. The name and design concepts are meant to call back to Tulsa being in the vanguard of the aerospace industry and a center for Art Deco architecture. Mayor G.T. Bynum said he loves the branding.

KWGS News File Photo

Colorado prosecutors have enough evidence to move forward with a first-degree murder case against a Boulder man charged with killing his ex-girlfriend in Colorado, dismembering her body in Louisiana and putting a suitcase containing her torso in a dumpster in Oklahoma, a judge has ruled.

District Judge Ingrid Bakke also ruled Wednesday that Adam Densmore, 32, will remain jailed without bail, pending trial in the February death of Ashley Mead.

Mead's totso was found in a suitcase at an Okmuglee gas station dumpster.

McDonald County

 

Authorities say two men have escaped through an air conditioning duct at a southwest Missouri jail.

McDonald County Sheriff Michael Hall says the escape was discovered Wednesday night when John Weeks and Christopher Walker weren't at supper for a headcount. Hall says it appears the two were able to get into the duct by removing shower heads. They exited the building through new construction.

Hall says the two may be driving a 2006 silver Dodge Caravan with the possible Oklahoma tag 073-DLV.

Wikimedia

 

 Officials say seven beehives containing more than 400,000 bees have been swiped from a northern Oklahoma apiary.

Beekeeper Bob Martin says he notified the Rogers County Sheriff's Office last week of the apparent theft. He tells the Claremore Daily Progress that the bees are worth about $2,500 to $3,000.

Martin is a beekeeper with weBEEjammin Honey BEEs in Foyil, about 30 miles northeast of Tulsa. He says the thief was likely inexperienced with bees, noting that the blanket used to cover the bees was left behind.

Wikimedia

 

  Oklahoma's drop in bond ratings may increase the state's borrowing costs for several major projects.

The Oklahoman reports credit rating services agency Fitch Ratings announced Tuesday that it's lowering Oklahoma's issuer default rating from AA+ to AA.

In its report the agency says economic and political factors contributed to the downgrade.

OKC Police

 

Police have released the names of a man fatally shot by Oklahoma City police and of the officers involved.

Capt. Bo Mathews said Thursday that 33-year-old Dorsey Glenn Taulbee Jr. of Oklahoma City died after seven officers opened fire when Taulbee first shot at them.

Mathews said he doesn't know how many shots were fired or how many times Taulbee was struck in the shooting early Wednesday inside a southwest Oklahoma City home.

In the local news:

  • Massive DHS cuts will hurt children and the elderly.
  • The suspected Bixby Bomber is arraigned in federal court.
  • Democrats are pleased, but not surprised, by this week's victories in special elections.

 

A northern Oklahoma woman charged with using the internet to solicit the killing of her ex-husband in Israel has been released from federal detention.

The Oklahoman reports 37-year-old Danielle Layman of Ponca City was released Tuesday and will be on house arrest pending her trial in Oklahoma City. If convicted, she could face 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Investigators say Layman was arrested June 30 after FBI officials learned of the alleged "murder-for-hire" plot to kill her ex-husband with ricin, a poison made with beans of castor oil plants.

Escapees May Be Headed to Tulsa

Jul 13, 2017

The search is underway for two inmates from the McDonald County jail in southwest Missouri. The inmates escaped from the jail at Pineville, south of Joplin. 

Officials speculate Christopher Walker and John Weeks could be headed toward Tulsa. Both are said to have family and friends here. 

They were being held on drug and assault related charges.

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