Preliminary OHP report on fatal crash fails to mention possible involvement of sheriff’s deputy

Donate
A makeshift memorial set up on Avery Drive at the site Cobie Tynor died in a fatal motorcycle crash on May 14, 2017. Clifton Adcock/The Frontier.

It was May 14, Mother’s Day, when 18-year-old Cobie Tyner died along a stretch of roadway in western Tulsa County.

Tyner, an avid motorcycle rider and motorcycle mechanic, had been enjoying an afternoon ride on his 2007 Kawasaki with 12 to 20 other cyclists along Avery Drive near Chandler Park.

According to a preliminary Oklahoma Highway Patrol report, Tyner was traveling eastbound at a high rate of speed, “crossed the center line for an unknown reason” and struck a Ford Fusion traveling in the westbound lane.

Tyner died at the scene, the OHP report states.

The driver of the Fusion, 37-year-old Lisa Reyna, was treated and released at a local hospital, while her 15-year-old passenger was uninjured, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Though the OHP is still investigating the crash, a critical piece of information was not included in the preliminary report: that a Tulsa County sheriff’s deputy had been attempting to perform a U-turn in the roadway when the fatal crash occurred, according to documents obtained by The Frontier and multiple witnesses. 

The deputy, Andrew Titsworth, who was on duty and driving a Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office sports utility vehicle, is not mentioned in the preliminary OHP report, though it does state the Sheriff’s Office assisted at the scene.

Tyner’s father, Derek Tyner, said he first heard about a law enforcement officer’s being in the roadway at the time of the crash through social media posts from other bikers who arrived at the scene only seconds after the crash.

He eventually spoke with Reyna, who was behind the deputy when the crash happened and told him that a deputy had tried to make a U-turn in the roadway.

“From where he (Cobie) came, he couldn’t have seen it until he came around that corner and then he had nowhere to go but into oncoming traffic,” Derek Tyner said.

Cobie Tyner. Courtesy

Tyner said that when he tried to ask law enforcement and other first responder agencies that had been called to the scene of the accident about it, he was told that there had been no law enforcement officer involved in the crash.

“I’m concerned they’re trying to push it under the rug,” Tyner said. “They all told me there’s no officer involved in the accident. Every one of them told us that.”

A second law enforcement report on the incident – this one by Titsworth – contradicts what witnesses to the crash say happened.

According to Titsworth’s incident report, he was traveling westbound on Avery Drive running his radar when a motorcycle headed eastbound passed him at 102 miles per hour. Titsworth writes that he activated his emergency equipment and made sure traffic within one-third of a mile in either direction was clear before pulling onto the shoulder and making a U-turn.

“I heard the loud roar of a motorcycle from the west, I looked out my driver’s-side mirror and saw the motorcycle go past me,” Titsworth’s report states. “I saw the vehicle had locked its brakes up and was skidding on his front wheel.”

Titsworth’s report states he radioed to dispatch and asked that OHP and the Fire Department be summoned before checking the motorcycle driver for a pulse and attempting to render aid.

Multiple motorcycles that were part of the same riding group stopped when they came on the scene, Titsworth’s report states.

“I told the riders to remain on scene and talk to OHP when they arrived,” Titsworth writes. “The motorcycle riders all left the scene before troopers could arrive.”

However, one of the motorcycle riders who was riding with Cobie Tyner and came up on the scene said the deputy did not tell them to stay, but rather told them to leave.

The witness, who spoke to The Frontier on the condition of anonymity, said she had only met Tyner that day and was riding with between a dozen and 20 other motorcyclists. Tyner, she said, sped up and pulled away from the group before rounding a curve. When the other riders came around the curve a few seconds later, they too almost crashed into the deputy’s vehicle, she said.

“He (the deputy) was still half-cocked in the middle of the road with the nose of the Tahoe pointing towards the hill and the ass-end of the vehicle still half sideways in the middle of the road,” the witness told The Frontier.

A screengrab from video taken by Newson6 videographers the day of the crash. A white Tulsa County Sheriff’s Deputy SUV can be seen in the image. Courtesy

“I don’t use my back brake very often, but I was using back brake, front brake, just trying to shut it down, and I still had to swerve over because the cop was in the middle of the road,” she said. “So I had to go between the car (that had been struck by Tyner) and the police officer to even go around and miss everything.

“If we had been going any faster than what we were going, it would have been a horrible scene.”

After the group of riders was able to slow down, the deputy told them to leave the scene, the witness said.

“When we got slowed down, he was telling everybody, ‘Go on! Go on! You can’t stay here,’” she said. “I should have been like ‘No, we’re not going anywhere,’ but when a cop is telling you to do something, smart people usually comply.”

Casey Roebuck, spokeswoman for the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, said Titsworth has not been disciplined in regard to the matter, and that the Sheriff’s Office is not investigating the matter.

“We haven’t been informed by OHP that there’s any cause for alarm,” Roebuck said. “If that changes we’ll definitely start our own internal investigation. But at this point, we haven’t been told that there’s a need to do so.”

Trooper Dwight Durant, spokesman for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, said investigators are waiting on a medical examiner’s report and a toxicology report before the investigation can be completed. Durant also said investigators are trying to get witnesses to come forward.

“We’re having difficulty getting statements,” Durant said.

Cobie Tyner’s father Derek Tyner and his mother Mona Tyner look at photos of their son taken throughout his life. Clifton Adcock/The Frontier

Derek Tyner said it will be hard for him and his wife, Mona, to find closure until they find the truth of what happened.

“I go there every day and look at that accident site and try to figure it out,” Derek Tyner said. “I try to give the officer the benefit of the doubt. I really do. OK, so you made a mistake. But if you would have said that and said, ‘I made a stupid mistake – I made a U-turn in front of this kid and killed him. OK. People make mistakes. I could have done that very easily. But I’m getting the cold shoulder. I feel like they’re telling me I’m lying.

“I lost my son, and I feel like I’m the one who has done something wrong.”

Your financial support for our investigative journalism is now tax deductible. To become a Friend of The Frontier, click here.

Clifton Adcock

Senior Staff Writer

A veteran investigative reporter who has covered eastern Oklahoma for more than 15 years, Clifton joined The Frontier in April 2017. A native of southeastern Oklahoma, he has covered numerous issues from criminal justice to politics for publications including the Tulsa World, the Oklahoma Gazette, and Oklahoma Watch. Clifton holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. Clifton can be reached at clifton@readfrontier.com. Follow him on Twitter @cliftonhowze
Donate