by Keri Thornton

kthornton@tahlequahdailypress.com

Tahlequah Police Department officers reached speeds over 120 mph on Friday while chasing a man who later said he fled because he didn't want a ticket.

Officers Justin Leatherwood and Chase Reed heard tires squealing on East Downing Street, where they saw a silver car go into the Family Dentistry parking lot and pull back onto Downing without yielding.

Once the car took off, officers activated their lights and sirens and proceeded to chase the car to Oklahoma Avenue. The driver, Charles Waters, ran through stop signs and did not signal while making his way to North Cedar Avenue. He continued east on Bertha Parker Bypass toward State Highway 82 and reached speeds of 100 mph.

Officer Leatherwood said Waters had no regard for other drivers and caused others to swerve into opposite lanes and medians to avoid hitting him, or getting hit by him. Both vehicles were traveling over 120 mph while approaching Jones Road and Steeley Hollow Road.

Waters then struck a car that pulled out onto the road, causing his car to flip. Due to his not wearing a seat belt, he was ejected from the car and thrown into a field. Officer Reed said the passenger of the silver car was halfway out of the sunroof, and from the looks of the scene, he thought Waters was dead.

The people in the vehicle that was hit were not injured and did not want to be checked by EMS. Waters was taken to Northeastern Health System, then lifeflighted to Tulsa for traumatic injuries.

When officers asked Waters why he ran, he said he did not want a ticket.