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2 law officers, suspect die in Dill City-area crashes

Two law enforcement officers and a suspect were killed in separate automobile crashes in southwestern Oklahoma, authorities said.
by Jennifer Palmer and Jonathan Sutton Modified: January 24, 2014 at 8:48 am •  Published: January 23, 2014

photo - The vehicle driven by a Burns Flat police officer is removed from the crash site as two OHP investigators gather information. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
The vehicle driven by a Burns Flat police officer is removed from the crash site as two OHP investigators gather information. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

DILL CITY — A Washita County undersheriff and a Burns Flat police officer died Thursday when the lawmen’s vehicles crashed into each other in a rural intersection south of Dill City during a high-speed pursuit, Oklahoma Highway Patrol officials reported.

The two lawmen — identified as Burns Flat police officer Kristian Willhight, 36, and Washita County Undersheriff Brian Beck, 39 — were chasing Quentin Lee Johnson, 27, of Sentinel, who was killed in a separate crash minutes earlier when he drove his vehicle off the road and into an embankment.

Johnson fled from authorities Thursday morning when the undersheriff attempted to serve him an arrest warrant.

Following a tip, Beck, the undersheriff, went to Johnson’s home last month and found drugs, used drug needles and a stolen pistol, according to documents filed in Washita County District Court. The undersheriff also could see gun ammunition on a table and a syringe in a trash can.

Johnson told Beck he had been clean for three years but recently had begun using methamphetamine again, as well as selling the drug to make money, records show.

The undersheriff said he was going to submit his report to the district attorney and warned Johnson he probably would return with an arrest warrant.

He was attempting to serve that warrant Thursday when Johnson fled, said Lt. Brian Orr, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. Johnson’s pickup was traveling south on a blacktop road when he crossed the northbound lane, went off the road, through a fence and into a 10-foot embankment or ravine. The crash was reported at 10:11 a.m.

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by Jennifer Palmer
Investigative Reporter
Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to...
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by Jonathan Sutton
Breaking News Reporter
Jonathan Sutton is a reporter covering breaking news and crime for The Oklahoman and He grew up in Ada and has a degree in journalism from Oklahoma State University. He was the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily O'Collegian, OSU's student...
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