FAIRVIEW, Okla. - Arrests have been made in a messy and pricey situation involving hundreds of barrels intentionally leaked into a creek near Fairview in Major County.
20-year-old Joshua England and 26-year-old Dakota Gray are currently sitting in county jail accused of releasing oil into the Cottonwood Creek on May 13 and 14.
“Through the course of the investigation, we determine that there were three suspects that were involved,” said Deputy Wesley Mongold.
According to officials, the intoxicated men and a juvenile started their night of mischief by first setting fire to several hay bales.
After that, they allegedly drove to the rural oil lease road and proceeded to release more than 360 barrels, causing thousands of dollars in damages.
“Including cleanup costs and the product lost by the company, it's well over $500,000 at this point,” Mongold said.
Authorities said finding the suspects wasn't too hard. Gray was already sitting in jail for another crime.
According to reports, neighbors said they saw a loud truck without a muffler, a clue officials said Gray's truck was missing as well.
Investigators also matched a tire tread at the scene to Gray's truck and a footprint at the scene that belonged to the same shoe the juvenile was wearing.
Deputies said three suspects opened the valves on four tank batteries spilling oil and salt water into the creek that flows into the Cimarron River.
“I just thought a stupid person did a stupid thing,” said Debby Mckee.
The Cottonwood Creek sits a few hundred yards from Mckee's front steps.
“Our son kept us up on what was going on. He said there were lots of people working, and I had faith that they would take care of it,” she said.
Mckee hopes this is a lesson learned for others looking to cause more destruction.
“I hope it teaches people that they really shouldn't do things like that,” Mckee said.
XTO Energy paid for the cleanup. The county said about 98 percent of the oil is cleared from the creek.