Friday, May 26, 1978 was one of the deadliest days in the history of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
That day is known as the darkest day for the highway patrol because Troopers Billy Young and Pappy Summers were shot and killed while participating in a manhunt for two escapees, Claude Dennis and Michael Lancaster from the McAlester Penitentiary. Troopers Young and Summers encountered the fugitives on a county road near Kenefic and were killed in the ensuing gunfight.
Within minutes, OHP aircraft spotted the escapees’ stolen vehicle at a residence in Caddo and directed OHP patrol units to that area. Another gunfight erupted, and Second Lieutenant James “Pat” Grimes was shot and killed.
Both escapees were killed during the gunbattle.
At 10 a.m., Monday, May 26, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol will honor the three slain troopers with a service in Caddo at the intersections of McPhearson and Court streets. The ceremony will include a 21-gun salute by the OHP Honor Guard, the posting of a new American flag at the site and the setting of a wreath in remembrance of the patrol’s fallen.