2015 Index of Articles

The Cost of Distracted Driving Love Never Fails

2014, 2013, 2012

The Cost of Distracted Driving
March 2015

February 2015 started off extremely rough for the members of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol family. On Sunday, January 31, 2015, we lost one of our own. Trooper Nicholas Dees, #731 was struck and killed as he stood outside of his patrol car investigating a collision on Interstate 40 near Shawnee. Trooper Dees had just turned 30 the week before and had only been working the road for OHP approximately 18 months before getting killed in the line of duty.

Trooper Nick Dees left behind his wife of ten years, Brandi, and their two small children: Claire, 8, and Piper, 2. Trooper Dees was also survived by his father, retired OHP Lieutenant Bruce Dees and his mother, Shelley Glenn Russell.

For those of us that knew and worked with Trooper Dees, we felt his loss keenly. Our hearts were broken over his senseless death and over the serious injuries that were inflicted upon another of our troopers, Trooper Keith Burch, #699.

It is alleged, that the driver of the vehicle that struck the troopers, was distracted. The investigation is still on-going and it would be inappropriate for me to elaborate further.
One thing is certain though, these two peace officers were struck down while in performance of their duties as public servants to the great state of Oklahoma. We owe them a debt of gratitude.

If you’ve ever heard me speak or you have read these articles before, you know that I am very outspoken about public safety: The negative effects of Drinking and Driving, distracted or otherwise careless driving, seat belt and child passenger restraint systems. These top the list. I’ve tried to always bring the human element to light, focusing not on the specific law that the action(s) violates, but about the people they ultimately effect. Let’s take Trooper Dees and Burch’s crash for example. Do I need to explain that neither of their families will ever be the same because of one person’s actions? Do I need to tell you that regardless of what that driver was actually doing, he killed a trooper and possibly ended the career of another?

Why should this matter to you, you’re probably wondering. Well, what if you were the person that ran over the troopers, would it matter then? Or what if your son or someone in your family was the one that ran them over, matter now? See, the point I’m getting at is, it could have been you or me that ran them over. If at any time, while you are operating a motor vehicle and you choose to do ANYTHING that distracts you from the conscious act of safely operating that motor vehicle, you could be the next person we read about or see on television. Don’t think it can’t happen to you. It can and probably will if you ignore my plea.

Do something positive with this horrific ordeal. Promise today that you will not, regardless of what you’ve done in the past, never ever again, choose to operate a motor vehicle without devoting 100% of your time and attention to what’s happening on the roadway in front of you. And should you see an emergency vehicle on the shoulder or in the roadway with their lights activated, swear from this day forward, that you will BOTH slow down and move over to ensure their safety.

It is my personal belief that God can bring beauty from our pain. That God can make use of our mistakes, and that God can heal the broken-hearted. I further believe that God had a plan and a purpose for Trooper Nicolas Dee’s life and the way he was taken from us. I believe that Jesus spared Trooper Keith Burch’s life for a reason and that ultimately He will get all the glory from Keith’s suffering and eventual recovery. It is God’s strength I rely on when I’m hurting, angry, fearful, and at such a loss at a time like this...it is in Christ’s strength that I personally carry on and tearfully remind you of your responsibilities while driving. Don’t let anything distract you from driving sober and safely on our Oklahoma roadways.


Love Never Fails
January 2015

2015, the beginning of a new year. If you haven’t been keeping up with the news, you’ve probably not seen the dramatic rise in the law enforcement line-of-duty deaths recently around the nation. From ambush, planned attacks to outright assassinations of our police officers, our men and women who have sworn to serve and protect are being systematically threatened and murdered under the guise of revenge. There is no such thing as a righteous execution of an innocent person. Hate crimes, no matter who is committing them, are wrong. We live in a free society because of rules and laws. When people decide to stop following those laws then anarchy reigns and when anarchy reigns there will be no United States of America.

Let me just tell you how this is going to pan out. There are a whole lot more good guys than there are bad guys. Some of the good guys don’t wear badges, but they do carry firearms and they won’t hesitate to stand in the gap and be counted.

We must come together as a nation, as a people, and stop this insanity before there’s no going back. And the only way to stop the hate is to love. Love one another. It’s not just a catchy phrase. It’s a commandment from God. When you love, there is no room for hate. Love is color blind, love is patient and kind. Love covereth a multitude of sins or flaws. Love never fails.

Join me in letting love rule our actions in this new year.


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