‘He was always there to protect,’ family of fallen officer speaks out about crash
BURNS FLAT, Okla. – It’s been a highway of heartache for the sister of police officer Kris Willhight.
Jamie Mills and the rest of Officer Willhight’s family drove up from New Mexico to plan his funeral.
She described one of her favorite memories of her brother.
Mills said, “He sat on my couch and all four of my children and his daughter all jumped on him and he sat there and he read to them, and read, and read, and read and never got tired of just cuddling and reading to them.”
Now, flags fly at half-staff to honor Officer Willhight and Washita County Undersheriff Brian Beck.
“It’s losing one of your partners,” Oklahoma State Game Warden Jeff Headrick said. “Even though that we were different agencies, you’re in a county, a small county and you’ve only got so many guys, so it’s just like losing one of your partners.”
Mills said, “He was the best big brother anybody could have ever asked for. And from the very beginning, he was always there to protect.”
The suspect they were chasing, 27-year-old Quentin Johnson, also died in a separate crash minutes earlier when he drove his vehicle off the road into an embankment.
Mills still can’t believe her big brother is gone.
“You don’t expect something like this to happen in a small town,” she said. “That’s what makes me angry, that Burns Flat is a tiny, itty-bitty town and everybody’s supposed to be safe.”
As three families now plan for funerals, the community is left wondering how to heal and the families are left searching for comfort.
Mills said, “I will tell you that I do find peace in the fact that he died doing what he loved.”
Officer Willhight was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash, but Undersheriff Beck was not.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the crash was so violent, they doubt anyone could have survived even with their seatbelt fastened.