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Suspect in Dill City, OK, fatal crash posted joke about death on Facebook

Once optimistic about his future and family, Quentin Johnson, of Sentinel, had recently posted a photo of the Grim Reaper and a joke about living dangerously on his Facebook account. He died Thursday while eluding police; two law enforcement officials were killed during the pursuit.
by Jennifer Palmer Modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:00 pm •  Published: January 25, 2014

Before he died Thursday trying to elude police near Dill City, a Sentinel man had posted a foreboding image of the Grim Reaper and a joke about living dangerously on his Facebook page.

Quentin Johnson, 27, on Jan. 16 posted a photo depicting two people in animal costumes skateboarding down a mountainous road with the saying “Don't take life so seriously. It's not like you're going to be get out alive.” And on Dec. 8, he posted an image of the Grim Reaper that states “I refuse to tip toe through life only to arrive safely at death.”

On Christmas Day, Johnson posted a profile photo of himself wearing dark sunglasses and black clothing. It's night and day to a couple of years ago, when Johnson's future appeared to be bright and he was looking forward to graduating from a wind training program and expecting the birth of his second child.

Methamphetamine, it appears, is at least somewhat to blame. Records reveal several encounters with law enforcement over his drug use, including a high-speed chase Thursday that led to his death and took the lives of Burns Flat police officer Kristian Willhight, 36, and Washita County Undersheriff Brian Beck, 39.

Beck had been attempting to arrest Johnson at Johnson's home Thursday morning when the man fled in his pickup, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. He crashed into a 10-foot embankment south of Dill City. Minutes later, Beck and Willhight collided in an intersection three miles away; neither survived.

Looking back

Johnson had already been in trouble for drug use; he was sentenced to five years of probation for possession of a controlled dangerous substance in 2006, at the age of 20. Three years later, in 2009, he was the subject of an NPR story about wind industry jobs in Oklahoma and in it, his voice sounded positive. He was being trained as a wind technician and was searching for a high-paying job in the field.

He'd been working in the oil fields since he graduated high school, the story reported, earning $50,000 a year at the industry's peak and supporting his family. The report featured two smiling photos of Johnson — one holding his daughter and another of him climbing up a wind turbine.

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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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