Lawmen laid to rest after Burns Flat high-speed chase
BURNS FLAT, Okla. – While two law enforcement officers were laid to rest Tuesday, officials continue to investigate the chase that claimed their lives.
Gail O’Neil said, “I thought to myself, if anyone survived that, it would be a miracle.”
O’Neil could see the law enforcement crash scene outside the window of her home.
In a crumbled SUV was Washita County Undersheriff Brian Beck.
Inside a wrecked Burns Flat patrol car was Officer Kris Willhight.
The pair were working together to chase down Quentin Johnson.
The Undersheriff arrived at Johnson’s home in Sentinel home at 9:40 a.m. Thursday to serve a warrant for his arrest.
Investigators say the 27-year-old was wanted for possession of a controlled dangerous substance, concealing stolen property and a felon in possession of a firearm.
When Undersheriff Beck arrived, Johnson jumped in his truck and sped off.
Undersheriff Beck took off to chase him and Officer Willhight joined in to help.
After chasing Johnson for 31 minutes, the run took a deadly turn.
Johnson crashed his truck in an empty field near Hwy 42 and Rambo St.
Undersheriff Beck and Officer Willhight were headed to that scene when they collided in to one another. Neither survived.
“It’s sad, you know,” O’Neil said. “That two of the guys were in the course of their business and they won’t be coming home tonight.”
Law enforcement agencies across the state sent their condolences.
“Our sympathies go out to the families on both sides of this tragic event,” OHP Lt. Brian Orr. “There’s a lot of pain right now that they’re dealing with.”
Word of the deaths spread quickly through the communities.
“We’re all real close. It hit home real hard,” Jonathan Jackson said.
Seeing law enforcement clean up the wreck that killed two of their own was a heavy sight for O’Neil.
“When they woke up this morning, they did not know that was going to happen,” O’Neil said. “Now their families are forever affected. It’s a sad deal.”
Beck was 39-years-old and Willhight was 36-years-old.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says Willhight was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident.
However, the report says Beck was not buckled in.
Authorities say they are still investigating the cause of the crash.
On Tuesday, both officers were laid to rest.
In an email to NewsChannel 4, Dave Beck, Brian Beck’s father, said, “I just want to thank all of the police, fire and honor guard that provided such a moving tribute to my son. Brian would have been honored to know that his brothers and sisters in law enforcement gathered together to show his family such support at this time. He is a hero in our hearts and he will be missed so terribly. Thanks to all the lawmen and firemen that put their lives on the line each and every day for us.”
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