Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: May 14, 2008
Sen. Laster reaches for the microphone as the Senate honors members
of the Highway Patrol.
Senate Salutes Highway
Members of the State Senate paid tribute to Oklahoma’s Trooper
of the Year Award winners for 2007, which included state troopers
who risked their own lives to perform a daring helicopter rescue
of a Kingfisher couple. Sen. Charles
Laster authored legislation honoring Lt. Brian Sturgill and
Trooper Joe Howard for their bravery.
Howard, from Shawnee, and Sturgill, from Harrah, both live in
the Senator’s district, but the Shawnee Democrat said their
heroism had been a source of pride for the entire state. Laster
also praised Kingfisher Fire Chief Randy Poindexter, who was with
Howard and Sturgill during the helicopter rescue.
“These men could easily have lost their own lives. The conditions
were extremely dangerous, and the helicopter was not even designed
for rescues, but they were determined to save this couple from the
deadly flood waters,” Laster said. “They truly are heroes.”
Last August, Hurricane Erin moved inland, causing the flood waters
that submerged the truck Bernice and Leroy Krittenbrink were driving.
Their daughter in Utah and much of the nation watched on TV as the
Highway Patrol helicopter navigated the swirling waters, submerged
trees, and floating debris to rescue the couple. Both victims were
too exhausted to hang on to the skids and fell off during the first
attempt, but the men repositioned the helicopter and attempted a
second rescue which was successful.
“Just this morning on my way into the State Capitol I saw
a trooper stop and help an elderly gentleman change a flat tire—a
small act of kindness and heroism that is repeated daily by the
fine women and men of our Highway Patrol,” Laster said. “Lt.
Sturgill and Trooper Howard epitomize that heroism, and we salute
them for their public service.”
For more information contact:
Sen. Laster's Office: (405) 521-5539