The Cherokee County Sheriff's Office has released more information about a double fatality that occurred July 31.
Sheriff Jason Chennault said the deputy-involved crash that killed Jared Whipple-Wilkerson, 20, and Grace Blaylock, 22, is still being investigated by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
"The troopers who are investigating the crash aren't from Cherokee County, but this is what they do. They investigate fatality crashes, and it's not just because a deputy was involved," Chennault said.
Chennault said Deputy Ryan Young was on duty July 31 and was heading to a fight in progress involving weapons when his vehicle and Blaylock's collided head-on on North 510 Road.
"He had taken his meal break at a family member's house in the area, and a fight call came out that weapons were involved, and he was headed to the call," Chennault said.
The sheriff said questions and concerns about the incident have been brought to his attention. He said an allegation that the deputy's truck landed on Blaylock's 1998 Honda Civic is untrue.
"I was at the scene, and I know there was concern that our vehicle was equipped with a brush guard that led to a lot of damage, and that's not true," Chennault said. "I can tell you our truck did not land on top of the other vehicle. I know there's been concern that Deputy Young was a new hire who was untrained. He is a new hire, but he's had several years of experience, and he is a full-time certified deputy."
Chennault said both vehicles flipped after impact, and the deputy wasn't able to notify dispatch right away.
"[Young] wasn't able to get on his radio because when our truck rolled, it broke the antenna. The truck rolled at least once and landed on its tires," Chennault said. "He ran from the scene to the nearest house, and the lady at the house drove him back to the scene after she called 911."
Chennault said the crash happened during daylight hours, and witnesses said they heard sirens in the area not long before.
Young was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, and has seen a Critical Incident counselor.
Chennault once the investigation is complete, a report will be sent to the District Attorney's Office to determine whether charges against Young are warranted.
"It's a tragedy for everyone involved, and we are praying for the families, the victims, and the deputy," Chennault said. "I have full faith in the process, and if it turns out to where there are criminal charges filed, we'll deal that when the time comes."