Patrol: Stolen utility truck plows across runway, kills 1
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma man crashed a stolen utility truck through the gates of Tulsa International Airport early Wednesday, triggering a chase across a runway that ended when the truck plowed through a fence and onto a highway, causing a fatal accident, according to investigators.
The 24-year-old man was arrested about 12 miles from where the abandoned truck was found Wednesday afternoon, Oklahoma Highway Patrolman Dwight Durant said. Authorities believe the man fled on foot after crashing head-on into a vehicle on U.S. 75.
The man, who hasn’t been formally charged, was being held for questioning on suspicion of murder, according to Durant. The name of the person killed in the accident hasn’t been released.
The chase started before dawn Wednesday, after Sapulpa police responded to calls about an intruder at a business that works on trucks. As officers arrived, someone was driving off in a utility truck. Sapulpa police backed off and let the Highway Patrol take over.
A trooper who chased the stolen vehicle onto airport property saw the truck barreling toward a parked private jet, Durant told The Associated Press. Worried there were passengers on the jet, the trooper used his cruiser to ram the truck, which outweighed his cruiser about two to three times, Durant said.
“He had an instant thought, ‘The jet’s loaded with people ready to take off,’ and he thinks, ‘I’ve got to do something,’” Durant said.
The maneuver diverted the truck away from the plane. But the truck then crossed over a runway twice, burst through a fence surrounding the airport and onto nearby U.S. 75.
Airport spokeswoman Alexis Higgins said the truck came near a parked Gulfstream jet that had one person aboard but wasn’t preparing to take off.
“The airport didn’t even have anyone out there responding, it happened so quickly,” Higgins said. “This happened within a minute or a couple minutes.”
The truck crisscrossed a runway primarily used for corporate business planes and private jets, Higgins said. Higgins said the chase didn’t disrupt regular air traffic, and that the runway was closed for about four hours.