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Trooper Howard M. Crumley | Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma

Trooper

Howard M. Crumley

Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma

End of Watch: Sunday, June 28, 1970

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 34

Tour: 5 years

Badge # 250

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Officer's handgun

Offender: One committed suicide

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Trooper Howard Crumley was shot and killed with his own service revolver while making a traffic stop of a speeding car.

Unbeknownst to Trooper Crumley, the two brothers who were in the car had just murdered another man before being pulled over. As Trooper Crumley searched one of the suspects on the hood of his patrol car the second suspect confronted him with a weapon and disarmed him of his service revolver. One of the suspects then shot him and the two fled.

The suspects abducted a couple a short time later and began to drive around the area. After releasing the male hostage they forced the female hostage to continue driving. At some point one of the brother's committed suicide and the other brother forced the woman to drive him to a hospital.

After leaving the hospital the pair were followed by a security guard. When the suspect went into the home of another brother the security guard contacted the female and then contacted police, who arrested the man at the location. The suspect was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. He was denied parole in December of 2014. His next parole hearing is in December of 2017.

Trooper Crumley had served with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol for five years. He was survived by his wife and three sons.

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I received my first traffic citation in the summer of 1969 from Trooper Howard M. Crumley. I was a few weeks past 15 1/2 years old, a late Saturday night driving toward Healdton half way between there & the Healdton/Wilson Y.

My girlfriend had been returned to her home in Wilson on time & I was on my way home in Graham. When I met the car coming toward me, I dimmed the headlights of my 1958 Chevy. As we passed on the highway I saw it was an OHP car. Keeping a sharp eye on my rear view, I saw the headlights lightup the trees as Trooper Crumley made a U-turn. Sheer panic quickly set in.

Then, there it was... a dirt road to the right. I floored the old, beat up six cylinder Chevy & slid sideways making the 90 degree turn. Then, I shut the lights off, kept my foot off the brake & let the old gal coast in neutral. Trooper Crumley sped past the turn at a high rate of speed, lights flashing. Unfortunately for me, the cloud of red-dirt-road dust he drove through gave me away.

After discussing where I had been & was going, Trooper Crumley told me he stopped me because I had a taillight out. I told him I was not aware of that & would fix it the next day. Then he asked to see my license. Well, we all know what happened next.

After politely & professionally issuing me my ticket he started back to his cruiser. I said, "Excuse me sir" & asked if I could drive home on the backroads. He said I could... if I wanted another ticket. Then he calmly got in his car & drove away. Now, for some reason, I kinda think Trooper Howard had a little grin on his face as he drove around me. Not an evil or gotcha grin, no, just grinning as he thought about the mess this little, snot-nosed kid had gotten himself into.

Well, after waiting for a few hours until almost dawn, I drove home... on the backroads, event free. When I heard the tragic news the following summer, I felt really sad for him & his family. During the 46 years since I can't begin to remember the number of times I've told others about my chance meeting with a true Oklahoma Hero.

Sgt. F. Larry Brown
US Army, Ret.
June 17, 2016

 

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