Man pleads guilty to manslaughter in crash that killed an Oklahoma Highway Trooper
SEMINOLE COUNTY, Okla. – In a move that surprised prosecutors, a man accused of hitting and killing an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter.
On Thursday, Steven Clark entered the plea in Seminole County Court.
Trooper Nicholas Dees was killed in a crash earlier this year while responding to an overturned semi-truck along I-40.
According to court documents, Clark admitted to OHP investigators that he saw the troopers’ flashing emergency lights but didn’t slow down. Instead of merging to the right lane to go around the crash and the trooper’s car, he drove right toward it.
Rep. Mike Christian says Oklahoma Highway Patrol Chief Rick Adams, Pontotoc County District Attorney Chris Ross and other sources have told him that Clark was updating his social media pages while driving.
Trooper Keith Burch was also seriously injured in the crash.
During the hearing, Clark turned to the Dee’s family and told them he was sorry for what he had done and was pleading guilty because he was guilty and he did not want to put anyone through the pain of a trial.
Clark will remain in custody at the Seminole County Jail until his sentencing Dec. 4.
The penalty for first-degree manslaughter ranges from four years to life in prison.