Three OHP troopers recovering after crash during procession honoring fallen Tulsa police sergeant


TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – Two Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers involved in an accident on the John Kilpatrick Turnpike Thursday have been released from the hospital.

The troopers released are from Tulsa. They are identified as 18-year veteran Steve Eason and 30-year veteran Ron Watson.

Trooper Rocky Barnes, a 22-year veteran, is still at OU Medical Center with internal injuries and broken bones.

The crash happened during a procession from Tulsa to Oklahoma City, honoring fallen Tulsa police Sergeant Craig Johnson. Johnson was killed in the line of duty after he and his partner were both shot in the head. Johnson’s body was being transported to an organ and tissue donation center in Oklahoma City.

OHP says the procession was approaching the eastern exit in the westbound lanes of the turnpike when the crash happened.

The three trooper motorcycles, as well as a silver Infiniti SUV, were involved.

OHP officials issued a news release Thursday night, stating that Barnes, who was traveling on the westbound shoulder to lead the motorcade, struck the Infiniti’s rear bumper after the motorist pulled onto the shoulder of the highway to let the procession pass. The impact caused Barnes to collide with other OHP motorcycles.

“That Infiniti was not involved with the procession. The occupant of that vehicle was not injured,” said Kera Philippi, with OHP.

The three troopers were transported to nearby hospitals with serious injuries. OHP says fortunately, law enforcement was already on scene to help.

“Fortunately for us, there were so many first responders and police officers that were already here involved in the escort,” said Philippi.

The procession continued on its path after the crash to ensure Sgt. Johnson’s organ donation, potentially saving the lives of four others.

His body is now back in Tulsa, where he will be laid to rest next week.

OHP tells us the driver of the Infiniti was a woman. They say she was interviewed and released at the scene without any injuries. Officials said in the Thursday night news release that she did not violate any traffic laws.

Trooper Barnes is expected to recover.

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