Tahlequah Daily Press

June 18, 2013

Teens killed in area crash were TPS students

From staff reports

TAHLEQUAH — Two Tahlequah teenagers are dead after a pickup carrying several young people crashed early Saturday morning at the intersection of Indian Road and Pettit Bay Road.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol confirmed the single-vehicle crash occurred at 3:46 a.m. about six miles south of Tahlequah.

Those killed in the crash are Paul Blevins Jr., 19, and Michael Rogers, 14, both of Tahlequah.

Both died of massive head and internal injuries, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol report.

The two had been riding in the back of the pickup, which was driven by Ray Molina.

Christian Hooper, 22, of Tahlequah was ejected from inside the vehicle, while the passengers riding in the back of the truck were also ejected. Those included Casey Kelly, 15, of Tahlequah; Haley Seal, 16, of Tahlequah; Blevins and Rogers.

Blevins had been a student of the Tahlequah Public Schools system, while Rogers was believed to have been enrolled at the high school last year as a freshman.

TPS Superintendent Lisa Presley said she did not know Blevins and Rogers personally, but noted the heartbreaking loss of the young men.

“I think it’s a tragic, tragic loss,” she said. “On behalf of Tahlequah Public Schools, I send our condolences to their families.”

The 2003 Ford truck was carrying two passengers in the cab and four in the bed, including the dead teens.

The truck had been westbound on Pettit Bay Road and was apparently speeding when Molina ran a stop sign. The OHP said the Molina then lost control of the truck, which slid into a tree.

Another Tahlequah man, Micah Holcomb, 18, is in a Tulsa hospital in critical condition. He was in the cab but was not wearing a seat belt.

Seal was taken to Eastar Health System in Muskogee, and was later transferred to St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa. He had leg injuries and was reported stable when admitted.

Hooper was reported to have been transported to W.W. Hastings Hospital by personal vehicle, and he was treated and released.

Kelly was treated and released at Tahlequah City Hospital, while Molina was transported to St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa and later treated and released.