Oklahoma City police officer Chad Peery, a source of inspiration to others after he suffered life-changing injuries in 2011, died shortly after noon Monday following a weekend rollover crash, authorities said.
“The police department has suffered a great loss,” Oklahoma City police Capt. Dexter Nelson said. “Chad was a point of inspiration for several officers, not only in our department but across the country.”
Peery suffered head and internal injuries in the crash Sunday evening on Interstate 40, Nelson said.
His family has donated Peery's organs, Nelson said. They declined to comment immediately, but asked that donations in Peery's memory be made to the Chad Peery Foundation.
“The Oklahoma City Police Department and Chad Peery's family would like to thank everyone for their concerns, their support, their prayers and their well wishes throughout Chad's injury which began February of 2011 until the tragedy today,” Nelson said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his four children, who are now trying to cope with the loss of their father and heal from their injuries.”
Peery, his caretaker and his four children were eastbound in a van east of Shawnee in Seminole County when the van crashed about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Nelson said.
The van was in the inside lane when the left rear tire blew out. The van went into a slide, went down an embankment and rolled three full times before hitting a fence, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported
Peery, 36, of Oklahoma City, and McKinsey Peery, 13, Mason Peery, 11, and McKade Peery, 7, all of Stigler, were thrown from the vehicle. The driver, Shelby Palmer, 19, of Yukon, and passenger Morgan Peery, 5, of Stigler, also were injured in the crash, troopers said.
Only the driver was wearing a seat belt, and the air bags didn't deploy, troopers said.
All six were taken to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City.
According to a hospital spokeswoman, Palmer was released Monday. Mason Peery is in serious condition, Morgan Peery is in fair condition, and McKade and McKinsey Peery are in good condition, she said.
Paralyzed amid fight
Officer Peery was paralyzed Feb. 15, 2011, when he intervened to break up a bar fight while off duty at Dan O'Brien's Public House.
The three men involved in the attack all pleaded guilty and have been sentenced.
Officer Peery continued to work with the police department after his attack, investigating cybercrimes. He underwent rehabilitation therapy and was learning how to drive again, Nelson said.
“We have had officers here on-and-off since 5 p.m., late yesterday evening, and we will continue to stay here until the family is ready to leave,” Nelson said Monday afternoon at OU Medical Center. “Everyone wants to be here to be with Chad, to be with the family to support him, because he has done so much for us, being an inspiration to us, and coming back after his tragedy.”
Bryan Dean, Staff Writer