An early morning pursuit that began in Tahlequah and topped 100 mph ended in the arrest of a Stilwell man.
Tahlequah Patrolman Cory Keele tried to stop a Dodge Caliber at about 12:03 a.m. Wednesday after the driver allegedly ran a red light at the intersection of Muskogee Avenue and Rayne Street.
The car turned onto the east bypass and pulled over. Keele said he began to get out of his police unit when the Dodge accelerated at a high rate of speed.
Keele and other Tahlequah officers continued the pursuit south on Park Hill Road and then south on State Highway 82 through Keys. Officers backed off of the Dodge when it reached speeds of over 100 mph, but the driver later traveled more slowly than posted speed limits, allowing officers to catch up.
The pursuit turned onto State Highway 100 and the driver of the Dodge began to swerve back and forth before turning into the parking lot of a Caney Ridge store. The car then sped south on 568 Road and slid into a ditch, according to police.
Keele and other officers made contact with two passengers of the vehicle after the driver – identified as Damon Green, 28, of Stilwell – fled on foot. The passengers both told police Green was taking them to work before the pursuit began, and said they asked Green several times to stop.
Green left his wallet in the car after he bolted. Keele said there were open containers of alcohol inside the Dodge.
Cherokee Nation marshals assisted Keele and other Tahlequah officers at the scene, and later went to Green’s home. Green allegedly tried to convince the marshals a twin brother had led officers on the chase, but eventually confessed to being the driver.
He was arrested and booked on charges of felony eluding, transporting an open container of liquor, driving under suspension, no insurance, taxes due state, failure to register a vehicle, obstruction, failing to stop at a stop light, and littering.
Tahlequah Police Department Public Information Officer Brad Robertson said the decision to continue a pursuit, and at what distance, depends on factors such as the time of day, traffic, and seriousness of the crime committed by the suspect.
“Our policy is on a case-by-case basis. This one was pretty textbook. They did a good job,” said Robertson. “Officer Keele stayed quite a distance back, and officers always have the option of discontinuing a pursuit for any reason; none of us feel like we have to continue a pursuit.”
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