Sunday, May 7, 2023 - One dictionary definition of a hero is "a person noted for courageous acts." Two Sallisaw police officers certainly fit that definition after their actions on Saturday.
As the Diamond Daze festival was taking place in downtown Sallisaw at approximately 1:30 p.m. very few attendees realized that just one block away these officers made a decision that saved an unknown number of lives.
Earlier a police pursuit had begun near Roland on Interstate 40 that reached high rates of speed before exiting the interstate and heading into downtown Sallisaw. Captain John Weber and Officer Wesley McGuirt were working the Diamond Daze festival when they were notified of the pursuit and informed that the vehicle was heading north on Oak St. directly toward the kids' zone area of the festival which was full of children enjoying inflatables and other activities.
As noted by Sallisaw Police Chief Terry Franklin, "Captain Weber and Officer McGuirt were the last line of defense before the suspect vehicle would have entered the Diamond Daze event area."
Realizing that measures had to be taken to stop the vehicle at all costs, Captain Weber quickly made the decision to place his patrol unit between the rapidly approaching vehicle and the kids' zone. Captain Weber drove head-on and crashed into the other vehicle causing it to come to a stop approximately one block from the festival.
Three Florida residents were removed from the vehicle and placed under arrest. The driver of the vehicle, Carlton Rucker, 37, (above right) as well as passenger Courtney Walker, 35, (above left) were not injured. A second passenger, Shawn Hyman, 34, (photo not available due to hospital transport) was transported by First Flight to St. John's Hospital in Tulsa. He was admitted in stable condition with leg injuries.
Chief Franklin said, "As chief of police I am beyond proud of these two officers for the quick response and action that they took. I personally know that it wouldn’t have mattered what officers with this department that were put in that situation they would have reacted the same way as Captain Weber and Officer McGuirt."
Captain Weber sustained a broken wrist in the collision. Officer McGuirt sustained cuts and bruises.
Captain Weber has been with the Sallisaw Police Department for over 20 years and currently serves as vice-president of the Oklahoma Fraternal Order of Police.
The three suspects face a variety of charges including aggravated assault and battery on a police officer, felony eluding causing great bodily harm, transporting open container of liquor, possession of medical marijuana without a license, possession of paraphernalia, possession of stolen property, and bringing stolen property into state.
We at The Mix would like to thank these two officers for their heroic service. We would also like to thank all of our local law enforcement officers that place themselves in harm's way each and every day.
KXMX Staff Writer
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