Twin of trooper killed in battle with prison escapees speaks out

Col. Mike Grimes is the twin brother of Lt. Pat Grimes, one of three state troopers killed during a shoot-out with prison escapees Claude Dennis and Michael Lancaster in 1978. Mike Grimes talks about the shooting and how the ambush changed the way the agency conducts manhunts.
BY TIFFANY GIBSON Staff Writer tgibson@opubco.com Published: December 11, 2011

"They were on a mission to take lives."

Troopers were tracking Dennis and Lancaster near Lake Texoma when they received a call from a man who said he had been tied up by them.

The man said the escapees took his vehicle and were headed toward Caddo.

Troopers respond

Partners Summers and Young passed the vehicle on State Highway 48 near Durant and pulled them over. Mike Grimes said the agency thinks the troopers knew who they had stopped.

"They were about 50, 60 feet apart. The troopers took an aggressive stance to stop them, to take them into custody, and a gunfight ensued," he said. "Trooper Young was killed first. Trooper Summers was killed second."

The escapees then walked up to the troopers, shot Summers a second time, then took their weapons before proceeding into Caddo.

Pat Grimes and his partner, Lt. Hoyt Hughes, heard about the search and went to block the escapees while other units were headed to the scene.

The escapees turned into a driveway and Pat Grimes and Hughes pulled up in an unmarked vehicle. Dennis and Lancaster opened fire on the troopers.

Mike Grimes said his brother tried to fire back but was hit and killed. Hughes, was wounded and moved the vehicle out of the line of fire.

Upon arrival, Lt. Mike Williams spotted Lancaster on the ground, wounded. He was able to shoot him as well as Dennis.

Both escapees died at the scene, Mike Grimes said.

Remembering Pat

It's been 33 years since the shooting, but Mike Grimes said he remembers it vividly.

Even though he wasn't at the scene, he remembers the moment a lieutenant told him his brother had died.

"To lose three troopers is a terrible day. For one of them to be your twin brother is the worst day I could ever think of," he said, fighting back tears.

He said he often wonders if things might have turned out differently had he been there.

"We'd never faced convicts that would lay an ambush for us. Typically bad guys are going to run from you," he said. "We'd never been up against this before."

Oklahoma DOC - Searching for Prison Escapees
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