OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma Highway Patrol is remembering Trooper Nicholas Dees, who was killed January 31, 2015, by a distracted driver.
According to OHP, Trooper Dees was investigating a tractor trailer accident alongside Trooper Keith Burch around 10 p.m. on January 31, 2015, when car drove around their vehicles and struck both troopers. Trooper Dees died at the scene and Trooper Burch suffered serious injuries.
Officials say the subject who was responsible for the crash admitted to seeing the flashing emergency lights at the scene and did not slow down. It was later discovered by investigators that the subject was updating his social media while driving. The driver responsible was charged with manslaughter and sentenced to 5 years in prison. He is out on probation at this time.
OHP says there was no specific law at the time of Trooper Dees’ death prohibiting texting and driving in Oklahoma. Dees’ widow and parents campaigned for legislation which resulted in The Trooper Nicholas Dees and Trooper Keith Burch Act being signed into law. Gov. Mary Fallin signed House Bill 1965 in May 2015, making texting while driving illegal.
Every year during the last two weeks of January, Oklahoma Highway Patrol chooses to emphasize distracted driving awareness in honor of Trooper Dees.