A weekend accident that has left an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper in critical condition was “unavoidable,” authorities said Monday.
Lt. Heath Meyer was laying stop sticks around 10:30 p.m. Friday along Interstate 35 when he was hit by an OHP cruiser involved in a high-speed pursuit that started in Norman, Col. Rick Adams said. Adams called the accident “unavoidable” and said the suspect who initiated the chase is at fault.
The pursuit started after a trooper pulled over a vehicle driven by D’Angelo Landon Burgess, 27, who officials said was driving too closely behind another vehicle in the southbound lanes of I-35. Burgess didn’t have identification and was told to get out of the vehicle, Capt. Ronnie Hampton said.
Burgess exited momentarily and then went back into his vehicle and sped off, Hampton said.
The chase continued south on I-35 before Burgess exited the highway at Indian Hills Road and eventually re-entered the highway in the northbound lanes, Hampton said. The chase reached speeds exceeding 110 mph, Hampton said.
Several troopers were chasing Burgess when his vehicle reached 27th Street, where Lt. Heath Meyer and another trooper were laying stop sticks. Burgess maneuvered around the stop sticks, but two OHP cruisers hit each other and struck Meyer, Hampton said.
Meyer was taken to an area hospital, where he remains in critical condition. OHP officials have not released details about Meyer’s injuries, per his family’s request.
Burgess stopped a short time later and was taken into custody, Hampton said. He was arrested and booked into the Cleveland County Jail, Hampton said.
The incident marks the second time Burgess has been arrested by OHP troopers. He was arrested in June 2016 after a pursuit that ended in a crash.
The investigation into Friday’s accident is ongoing.
A GoFundMe account has been created to help Meyer.