Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

January 21, 2013

Charges filed in December crash case

TAHLEQUAH — Prosecutors have filed charges against a Welling man who allegedly fled from police in late December and then crashed his vehicle.

Brandon Kirk Hembree, 24, is charged with eluding or attempting to elude a police officer, driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

Tahlequah Patrolman Brandon Vick said he was patrolling about 1 a.m. Dec. 26, when he saw a car at the Tahlequah Motor Lodge parking lot area with a man standing near the passenger door. Vick said he believed a hand-to-hand drug transaction might have been taking place, so he parked his car to observe.

When the vehicle  driven by Hembree left, Vick decided to follow the car, but Hembree allegedly took the vehicle to speeds of about 100 mph and drove in the wrong lanes to pass several cars. Vick pursued the vehicle as it traveled south toward the Cherokee Nation complex.

Hembree allegedly continued south on Muskogee Avenue at speeds of around 120 mph, then tried to turn into Sequoyah High School. He continued driving the vehicle on various roads at high speeds.

Vick said he began to notice slick spots on the roads, so he slowed down and soon decided to call off the pursuit.

Vick and fellow Tahlequah officers Tony Aguilar and Cory Keele started driving back to the city on Stone Chapel Road and came upon Hembree’s vehicle in a ditch, turned onto its top. Officers said a female passenger was outside of the vehicle, holding her chest, and a male passenger – identified as Robert Finch – was on his back, hanging halfway out of a window.

Patrolman Tony Aguilar found Hembree in the ditch about 40 feet from the vehicle with a severe cut to his head and road rash all over his body, according to Vick.

Vick said a smoking pipe that smelled of burnt marijuana was found in Hembree’s front pocket.

Aguilar tried to keep Hembree warm until medical personnel arrived, according to Vick’s report. Finch was checked by EMS and released, and officers later arrested him for public intoxication. Hembree was eventually taken to a Tulsa hospital for his injuries, and the female passenger was taken to a Tahlequah hospital.

Supplemental information filed with the formal charges against Hembree indicate his previous convictions in Cherokee County could enhance his sentence.

Hembree was convicted of possession of a stolen vehicle, second-degree burglary, malicious injury to property, and assault and battery in 2006, and was given a three-year deferred sentence.

In 2008, that sentence was accelerated to seven years, with all but six months suspended; a few months later, the sentence was revoked to six years in the Department of Corrections.

He was convicted of driving under the influence and received a one-year suspended sentence in 2008. The same year was convicted of aggravated assault and battery and given five years in prison.

Other previous Cherokee County charges against Hembree include two counts of possession of a stolen vehicle from 2007, when he was convicted and received a five-year deferred sentence.

In October 2010, that sentence was accelerated to five years, when he faced charges of unauthorized use of a vehicle and second-degree burglary.

Hembree could face three years to life in prison, along with fines, on the latest charge of eluding or attempting to elude a police officer.

Text Only
Local News
  • ths-jazz-2.jpg THS jazz band gets up early to hone performance skills

    It means getting up an hour earlier, and it doesn’t count as a class, but the jazz band at Tahlequah High School enjoys the dedication of a group of enthusiastic students.
    The THS Jazz Band practices every day at 7 a.m., an hour before the start of classes. It numbers 17, and is led by Director Orien Landis.
    “They have to do this before school and they get no class credit, but we have a full band,” Landis said. “They are really excited about this.”

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Easter-basket-kid.jpg Easter traditions date back centuries

    Some Christians may lament a partial shift of focus, but a Christian holy day - perhaps the most holy of all – is this Sunday, and it will be marked with celebrations all around the world.
    The Christian holiday of Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. For centuries, the observant have fasted, reflected or done penance in the weeks leading to the holiday. But today, many also associate the holiday with the Easter bunny, candy, and kites. In 2013, Americans spent $2.1 billion on Easter candy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Some oppose minimum wage hike; others decry strong-arming by state

    President Barack Obama and the U.S. Senate recently announced a push to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour, to $10.10. On the heels of the announcement, an initiative petition was introduced in Oklahoma City to raise the minimum wage to the suggested $10.10. If it gained 80,000 signatures, it would be put to a vote of the people.
    This legislative session, a bill passed prohibiting municipalities from setting a minimum was or vacation and sick-day requirements. Gov. Mary Fallin signed the bill into law earlier this week.

    April 18, 2014

  • Phone scam takes $500 from couple

    Authorities are warning Cherokee County residents to watch for a costly phone scam that recently targeted a local couple and ended in their loss of $500.
    According to sheriff’s deputies, a couple contacted authorities after losing $500 to the scam. The couple received a phone call from a man who identified himself only as “Mr. Green.” He told the couple they had won $1.5 million through Publisher’s Clearing House, but to collect the money, the couple would have to purchase a $500 money card to cover various fees.

    April 18, 2014

  • Missing local teen found dead

    The body of a missing 17-year-old boy was found in southern Cherokee County on Thursday, sheriff’s investigators said.
    Brikk Pritchett was reported missing earlier this month after disappearing on March 30, a day before his 17th birthday.

    April 18, 2014

  • ts honor flight 1.tif Flight of honor

    World War II veteran Charles Harra flew missions for the Army Air Corps, and if you ask him which flight was his most memorable, he’ll say it was his 35th mission.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man charged after leading authorities on wild chase

    Prosecutors have formally charged a man who allegedly led authorities on a wild high-speed pursuit across Cherokee County in late March.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sex offender bonds out after failing to register

    A Cherokee County man is out on bond after being arrested last week for failing to register as a sex offender.

    April 17, 2014

  • jn radiator shop.jpg ‘Greenbelt’ progressing

    Crews this week began to demolish an abandoned radiator shop at the corner of South Street and Guinn Avenue.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts slut walk.tif SlutWalk shines spotlight on crime

    “Two, four, six, eight, stop the violence, stop the rape; slut, slut, ho, ho, yes means yes and no means no!”
    This was the battle cry across the campus of Northeastern State University, as the student branch of the American Association of University Women held its third annual SlutWalk Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo


What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest