Suspected 20-year-old drunk driver kills innocent metro man during pursuit

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DEL CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – Investigators say a 38-year-old man was killed after an underage suspected drunk driver slammed into the back of his pickup truck while trying to flee from troopers.

Cory Coffey died on scene near Northwest 10th and Sunnylane in Del City late Thursday night.

“Well, it’s a day I won’t forget,” Robin Coffey said. “It’s the day I won’t forget.”

Robin Coffey tells KFOR she woke up Friday morning to a horrific phone call.

“I can remember screaming a little bit, and then I started crying,” Coffey said.

Photo goes with story
Cory Coffey

Her son, Cory, had been killed at the hands of a suspected drunk driver less than a mile from his house.

Cory’s mom says he volunteered at a local drug and alcohol rehab center in the metro.

“You never think about this hitting home,” Coffey said.

Investigators say 20-year-old James Cawthorne had been drinking before he got behind the wheel. According to court documents, Cawthorne wasn’t supposed to be driving in the first place since he was arrested for a DUI less than a month ago.

“From the time we spotted the violation to the time he killed a man, it was two minutes,” Maj. Ronnie Hampton with Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.

According to Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Cawthorne was caught going 100 miles per hour east on Interstate 40 around 11 p.m. Thursday night.

Cawthorne then exited Northwest 10th with troopers right behind him and then slammed straight into the back of Cory’s truck.

“It does appear that his death was instantly,” Hampton said.

OHP officials tell KFOR they worked three chases in three hours Thursday night into early Friday morning.

Meanwhile, Cawthorne now sits in the Oklahoma County Detention Center facing several charges, including murder in the first-degree.

“There was no sense of regard or [compassion] for people,” Coffey said.

Cory’s mother says he will be remembered as a cowboy at heart, as she longs to tell him one last thing.

“I would say I love him and I miss him,” Coffey said.

OHP officials also tell KFOR they have seen a significant increase in pursuits and specifically pursuits involving drunk drivers.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to donate to Cory Coffey’s family and help pay for his funeral expenses.

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