sheriff

Suspect still sought following police pursuit

Law enforcement officers in both Lincoln and Pottawatomie counties are still on the lookout for a person wanted for questioning in connection with two pursuits relating to stolen vehicles and trailers Monday night. Lincoln County Sheriff Charlie Dougherty reported the pursuit began in Pottawatomie County as deputies tried to stop a pickup towing a stolen box trailer. Dougherty has identified the driver they are still looking for as David Carter of Meeker. A passenger in the vehicle, identified by deputies at Eric L. Grimm, 24, stayed inside the vehicle and was taken into custody by Pottawatomie County deputies, Dougherty said. He said the stolen vehicle was recovered, while a manhunt commenced for Carter.
The pursuit entered Lincoln County on 3440 Road and continued north, he said. About one mile south of SH 62, officers set up road blocks, but the vehicle continued. A bit farther north, Dougherty said Meeker Police Officer Matt Willis was okay after the pickup clipped that officer’s leg while he attempted to deploy more stop sticks. Before that, the driver allegedly swerved his vehicle toward a Pottawatomie County sheriff’s unit occupied by a deputy. The pursuit came to an end more than a mile later where the roadway ends, with Carter reportedly fleeing the vehicle on foot, Dougherty said. Formal charges have not been filed against either. Grimm is now jailed on a complaint of knowingly concealing stolen property. Two tracking dogs were used to search for Carter at the end of pursuit before Midnight. About 2:45 a.m. Tuesday, a Ford pickup with attached flat-bed trailer was reported stolen in the general area, Dougherty said. Pottawatomie County deputies located it and began a pursuit of that stolen vehicle within 15 minutes of the report, but lost sighting, Dougherty said. That stolen vehicle was recovered in the Earlsboro area Tuesday, with case reports pointing to Carter also being connected to that vehicle as well, Dougherty said. Anyone with information about Carter should contact authorities.

‘Most wanted’ fugitive nabbed in Shawnee

Through cooperative efforts of law enforcement agencies, one of the state’s most wanted fugitives sought by the U.S. Marshal’s Metro Fugitive Squad was apprehended at a Shawnee home Sunday evening.

Floyd Grass, 34, was arrested about 6 p.m. at 1832 W. Wiley, said Chad Pope, who serves as a special deputy with the U.S. Marshals’ Metro Fugitive Squad. Pope, who also is a Pottawatomie County sheriff’s deputy, said a tip led authorities to that home. Pope said the arrest was made “with a lot of cooperation” between agencies, who began working together in the days beforehand in attempts to locate Grass. Grass, who was sought on a federal warrant for a probation violation, also had state warrants from Pottawatomie County for two felony cases — aggravated assault and battery and placing bodily fluid on a government employee, Pope said.

The search for Grass had been ongoing in the area several days, he said. That search involved U.S. marshals being in town to follow leads, with assistance by the district attorney’s task force. Pope said they had looked for Grass at several locations, but he wasn’t there. From cooperative work and interviews in the days leading up to the arrest, the tip on Sunday led authorities to his location. Pope said the entire Pottawatomie County sheriff’s office warrant team along with several Shawnee police officers assisted in the arrest. Prior to going to that home, Pope said authorities received word that Grass had a police scanner and was armed. When police surrounded the home and made the arrest, they found a police scanner, but no firearm, Pope said. Two others at that home were arrested on unrelated city of Shawnee municipal warrants. Grass is jailed at the Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center.

According to jail rosters, Grass has a $50,000 bond for each of the two state counts. Those two counts are for separate Pottawatomie County cases in which Grass had warrants issued in 2007 after failing to appear in court, records show. Grass also is being held without a bond on the federal charge, which involves possession of a weapon, jail records show. He’s also being held on a complaint of unlawful use of a police radio.

Weather Conditions Still Treacherous

All Pottawatomie County roads remained slick and hazardous and many were littered with stalled vehicles Wednesday, so officials are still urging people to stay home.

Don Lynch, Shawnee/Pottawatomie County emergency management director, said the stalled cars are making it difficult for crews to clear roadways, and continuing northerly winds Wednesday were expected to lead to further drifting. Several road closures remained mid-day Wednesday, including the southbound on-ramp to U.S. 177 from Kickapoo Spur and the northbound U.S. 177 off-ramp to Farrall Street, both because of abandoned vehicles, Lynch said.

Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Capt. Travis Palmer said he still was discouraging travel Wednesday as deputies, with four-wheel drive units, were having difficulty maneuvering roadways. “The highways are snow-packed and the east and west roads are full of snow drifts,” Palmer said, after making his way up U.S. 177 from Asher. “And the wind child out here is brutal.” And while the sun was shining Wednesday, Palmer said people shouldn’t get a false sense of security because nothing was melting. “Unless it’s an extreme emergency, don’t get out,” Palmer said, adding wrecker services were hours behind getting people unstuck after they chose to get out. There hadn’t been any reports of major accidents or injuries related to the storm, he said, but wanted to urge caution for those “playing” in the snow. A woman was killed in Oklahoma City Tuesday night, Palmer said, while being pulled behind a vehicle on some type of fashioned-sled. He advises against doing that, as there’s no control over that object in the snow. “It’s fun, but I don’t think people realize how dangerous that is,” Palmer said, encouraging everyone to have fun, but to do so in a safe manner.

Lynch said city of Shawnee street crews were continuing to plow major streets, adding most major streets have at least one lane open in both directions, but all secondary streets remained snow packed and treacherous. “We continue to urge people to stay off the roads unless it is an absolute emergency,” Lynch said. No major power outages were reported as of mid-Wednesday, although there were some reports of water pressure issues in the city of Tecumseh. A vehicle wreck damaged a fire hydrant on North Broadway Tuesday night, Lynch reported, resulting in a water line failure and low water pressure. The line break has been repaired but during the process an electrical problem occurred at the water treatment plant. Demand Wednesday morning created a situation of nearly no water pressure in Tecumseh. Crews reportedly got the electrical service restored and the pumps started, but as tanks are filling, water pressure is low, said Melvin Potter, Tecumseh’s emergency manager and E-911 director.

Both the E-911 center and city of Tecumseh were being flooded with calls reporting water issues. Potter said they’ve had numerous calls relating to the water issues and people asking about road conditions.  “We have had no major problems reported besides some semi-trucks tying up traffic,” Potter said.

Tecumseh Assistant Police Chief J.R. Kidney said main roads were somewhat better Wednesday, but secondary roads remained treacherous and several vehicles continued to get stuck. “It’s still 12 degrees,” Kidney said Wednesday afternoon. “Even though the sun is out, everything is still frozen and slick.”

The winter storm closed a number of businesses.

The Shawnee Fire Department responded with REACT EMS to calls and responded to one residential smoke alarm activation, with REACT responding to nine calls since midnight.

Greg Reid, director of REACT EMS, said most of the calls were for people who couldn’t drive themselves to the hospital, including a woman in labor. Two women were taken to the hospital for labor Tuesday.  Overall, Reid said mid-Wednesday things had been going fairly well, but said even the large ambulances were sometimes getting stuck on snow-packed roadways, so he still advises motorists to stay home. Luckily, paramedics hadn’t responded to any calls of hypothermia in these conditions, he said.

Lynch reports the cities of Asher and Maud had similar road issues.  The Shawnee Police Department responded since midnight to at least four non-injury accidents.

Prague man bound over in wife’s shooting; two charges added

A Prague man charged in the September shooting of his estranged wife appeared in court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing, where he was bound over for trial on the one count filed, with the judge suggesting two additional counts based on the evidence presented.  Phillip Mlynek, 59, was originally charged in Pottawatomie County District Court with assault and battery with a deadly weapon, a felony, after his wife, Shirley Mlynek, suffered injuries to both legs from a No. 4 buckshot.  At the conclusion of Tuesday’s hearing, held for a judge to determine if there’s enough evidence for a case to proceed, Special District Judge David Cawthon bound Mylnek over on the assault count. Because of evidence presented, the judge suggested charges be amended to also include counts of feloniously pointing a firearm and maiming, court documents show.

According to court records, the Mlyneks were married in 1975 and were going through a divorce at the time of the alleged shooting incident, with court records showing Shirley Mylnek filed for divorce in August.  Sheriff’s deputies who investigated this case said she was staying at her son’s home, located in the panhandle of rural Pottawatomie County, which is where the alleged shooting occurred.

Reports in the case show Shirley Mylnek told deputies her husband confronted her with a shotgun when she arrived home and asked her to sign some paperwork that would entitle him to land they own.  Phillip Mylnek was taken into police custody after taking his wife to the Prague hospital for treatment of her wounds, documents show.  First Assistant District Attorney Russ Cochran represented the state; Mylnek was represented by Attorney Cregg Webb.  Mylnek’s $55,000 bond remains in effect and he is to have no contact with Shirley Mylnek; his arraignment date to enter a plea is now scheduled February 2nd 2011.

Crime spree charges split between two counties

Two suspects originally charged in Seminole County with 22 felony counts relating to a September crime spree from Konawa to Tecumseh will have their charges separated as six of those charges are now filed in Pottawatomie County District Court.
Charges relating to a Seminole and Pottawatomie County crime spree were all filed in the county where the spree originated. The suspects were caught Sept. 7 following a spree that included numerous carjackings, armed robberies and a shooting.
Arrested and charged were Jason Kenneth Dimaggio, 31, and Roberto Dale Cardenaz, 44, who are both from California.
According to court documents, both suspects had preliminary hearings scheduled Monday in Seminole County District Court on the counts there. Those hearings were postponed until January after six of the charges were dismissed there and then filed in Pottawatomie County for the specific crimes in this county.
The duo’s alleged crime spree began in Konawa, moved to Maud, then to the Ralph’s Pharmacy in Tecumseh, where the pair split up. Cardenaz was arrested on SH 9 following a pursuit to the Norman area, while Dimaggio was found a few blocks away from the Tecumseh pharmacy after the town was placed on lock down for a manhunt. The spree began with the most serious offenses occurring in Konawa, where the men allegedly assaulted a man and shot another during a carjacking.
The two are charged in Pottawatomie County with robbery with a weapon, accused of robbing Alice Christopher at a Maud church by taking vehicle keys and a vehicle belonging to her.
In a count of assault with a dangerous weapon, they are accused of assaulting Sheriff’s Capt. Travis Palmer with an automobile during a pursuit. They also are charged with eluding a police officer and conspiracy to commit a felony.
In connection with the robbery of Ralph’s Pharmacy in Tecumseh, both are charged with robbery with a weapon, accused of taking narcotic pills from Pharmacist Joel Scott Tucker. They also are accused of assault with a deadly weapon for shots fired during that hold-up.
Both are scheduled for an initial court appearance for the Pottawatomie County charges on Wednesday. Their preliminary hearing dates in Seminole County haven’t yet been rescheduled.
Watch for updates.

Suspect linked to 20 stolen trailers

A Stratford man remains jailed on several complaints after a stolen trailer from Shawnee led police to link the suspect to at least 20 other stolen trailer cases.  Shawnee Police Detective Ronnie Wilson said a trailer was stolen from the Shawnee area Nov. 9, with the owner passing video on police and giving officers a description of the suspect vehicle.  Detective Greg Gibson noticed the vehicle and followed it, Wilson said, before Cpl. Dan Shumaker conducted a traffic stop.  Wilson said Steven Barnett, 30, had an outstanding warrant for charges filed Oct. 29 in another trailer theft case and was arrested. Detective Wilson and Detective Charles Swantek searched the vehicle and discovered a pawn ticket, Wilson said.
After checking pawn shops, Wilson said police discovered Barnett had allegedly pawned eight different trailers over the past 30 days.  Police tracked the stolen trailer from Shawnee and traced it to being stolen and then sold and bought again at least three times.  Wilson said a unknowing citizen has likely purchased the stolen trailer, so thus far, it hasn’t been recovered.  Barnett allegedly confessed to six of the stolen trailers, Wilson said, but police believed Barnett may have been involved in as many as 20 trailer thefts.

Barnett was recently charged in Pottawatomie County District Court with false declaration of ownership and pawn and grand larceny involving a trailer stolen from Tecumseh. In that case, the Pottawatomie Count sheriff’s office and Tecumseh police investigated a trailer theft that occurred Sept. 20.

Wilson said trailer thefts are a big problem and police believe there are many repeat offenders working this area.
The biggest problem is there’s no registration for utility trailers, and most don’t have any type of serial number or identification on them, making it difficult for police to track down stolen ones, he said.

Those who own trailers are cautioned to keep them locked up and take precautions, such as putting some type of identification numbers, names or similar identifiers in several places on the trailer. A welder can place such numbers on the trailer and owners also should photograph their trailer for easy identification.

Taking a “little bit of time and a little bit of money,” to mark trailers can help police in these types of investigations.  Further charges are pending for Barnett, who remains jailed on $20,000 bond for the first case.

Deputy injured in crash while responding to fatal pedestrian accident

A Pottawatomie County sheriff’s deputy was injured in a crash Monday afternoon while he was responding to the scene of a pedestrian accident that resulted in the death of that victim. The first accident involving the pedestrian was reported about 11:52 a.m. in the 8400 block of Brangus Road. About five minutes later, the accident involving the sheriff’s deputy was reported at Garrett’s Lake Road and Kickapoo Street.
Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Capt. Travis Palmer was driving a Chevrolet Tahoe sheriff’s unit when that accident occurred. Palmer, who was eastbound on Garrett’s Lake Road, was en route to the Brangus Road accident to assist another deputy, said Shawnee Police Lt. Tom Pringle.
At the intersection, his unit collided with a Ford Mustang driven southbound on Kickapoo Street by a 17-year-old driver, Pringle said. Her name was not being released.

Palmer, who was trapped in the wreckage, was extricated by Shawnee firefighters and taken by REACT EMS ambulance to Unity Health Center, North Campus. There, he was treated for facial lacerations and a vertebrae injury, Pringle said, then was transferred by helicopter ambulance to an Oklahoma City hospital for further treatment.

Pringle said the teen’s parents took her by private vehicle to Midwest City Regional Hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries.
Shawnee Patrol Officer Jay Keehn worked the scene and police are investigating, Pringle said, with Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers assisting with measurements and diagrams of the collision.

At Unity’s ER, fellow deputies and police officers from various agencies arrived to check on Palmer, said Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth.

Booth, also at the hospital, said Palmer was traveling “Code 3,” at the time of the accident, which meant he had activated lights and sirens in response to the emergency call.
“He was on the way to help someone,” the sheriff said. “Sometimes these things happen — we know that when we’re putting on the badge.”
Booth said Palmer was awake at the hospital and was concerned for others as he asked Booth about the other driver, as well as the pedestrian he was trying to go help.

Other deputies and state troopers worked the pedestrian accident on Brangus Road, where a man who was getting out of his vehicle was hit by that vehicle and reportedly died from his injuries, according to scanner reports.

That accident was determined to be on trust land, so Sac and Fox Nation Police were investigating that accident. No other information or the identity of the person involved in the fatal accident could be obtained from Sac and Fox tribal police as phone messages were not returned.