Trooper of the Year and Jerry Marx Awards

Department of Public Safety and Highway Users Federation Officials are announcing the 2003 recipients of the Jerry Marx Memorial Award and Trooper of the Year for Heroism and Humanitarianism.

The Awards will be presented at the Highway Users Federation Annual Safety Recognition Luncheon at 11:45 a.m., Thursday, April 1, at The Centre banquet facilities, 4325 Northwest 50th, (50th and Meridian) in Oklahoma City.

Three Troopers were selected in the Heroism category - Trooper Nikky Green #198, Trooper Cody Hyde #912 and Trooper Colby Cason #553.

Trooper Nikky Green #198 was contacted by a newspaper delivery person in the early morning of Friday, December 26, 2003 what appeared to be a person passed out in a white vehicle on a county road. As Trooper Green approached the vehicle, he observed chemicals common to methamphetamine production.

Trooper Green attempted to take the subject into custody and was able to get one wrist handcuffed. Trooper Green became involved in a violent physical struggle and was shot and killed by the armed subject.

Immediately, a large scale manhunt ensued with multi law enforcement agencies involved. Two days later a suspect, Ricky Malone, was arrested for the murder of Trooper Nikky Green.

Trooper Cody Hyde #912 and Trooper Colby Cason #553 were on patrol August 15, 2003 when Trooper Shawn Griffey #427 was involved in a violent unit collision in the vicinity of the Stroud gate on the Turner Turnpike. Trooper Griffey was struck on the driver's side of his unit by a semi tractor, then pushed a considerable distance and subsequently pinned in his patrol unit.

As a result of the collision Trooper Griffey lay nearly lifeless and unable to breathe. Trooper Hyde and Cason rushed to his aid. Trooper Hyde was able to open an airway to facilitate Griffey's ability to breathe. As Trooper Hyde and Cason worked to assist Trooper Griffey, the patrol unit began to burn as smoke filled the inside of the unit. Trooper Hyde and Cason refused to seek safety for themselves, and instead Trooper Hyde remained with Trooper Griffey while Trooper Cason sought and gathered as many fire extinguishers as possible. Trooper Cason suffered abrasions, cuts and scratches breaking the windows to access the fire extinguishers and was able to put out the fire.

Their decisive action, without regard to their own personal safety in a perilous environment, is a strong testament to their valor and courage.

Two recipients were selected for the Humanitarianism category - Trooper Mike Cassingham #171 and Captain Mike Grimes #13.

On May 8, 2003 Trooper Mike Cassingham #171 was on patrol when a tornado hit the southeast side of Oklahoma City in the vicinity of I-240 and Sooner Road. Trooper Cassingham rushed to the location and assisted by cutting a seat belt loose freeing an infant from a severely damaged vehicle and administering aid to the mother who sustained severe lacerations to the face.

Afterwards, he asked 2LT. Mike Daniels to assist him in searching for possible trapped citizens in the Lincoln Bank, which was demolished. With total disregard for his own personal safety, amid spewing natural gas and downed electric lines, Trooper Cassingham crawled into the crumpled remains of the Lincoln Bank and pulled two bank employees to safety.

Trooper Mike Cassingham is to be commended for his actions on May 8, 2003. His decisive actions, without regard to his own personal safety under perilous conditions, is a strong testament to his valor and courage. His actions are consistent with the highest standards of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

The other recipient for Humanitarianism is Captain Mike Grimes #13. During the first murder trial for the killer of Trooper David "Rocky" Eales, Captain Grimes spent untold hours either in the air or on the ground, making sure that Trooper Eales' family was in the courtroom every day. Captain Grimes also assisted the District Attorney's office in notification of witnesses associated with the law enforcement community. His time and hours spent were numerous.

During the second murder trial, Captain Grimes again, went above and beyond to ensure that Trooper Eales' widow, Kelli, along with her mother, arrived at the courthouse everyday. He was in the courtroom everyday making sure that the family needs were met. During his assistance with the Eales’ second trial, Captain Grimes began assisting the family of Trooper Nikky Green, who was killed on December 26, 2003.

Each year, during National Police Week in Washington, D.C., Captain Grimes coordinates with all attendees, ranging from 10-25 employees and family members of troopers killed in the line of duty. Captain Grimes never fails to represent the Oklahoma Highway Patrol as a professional and caring member of this great agency.

Captain Grimes is to be commended for his dedication to duty, to the State of Oklahoma, to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and for his devotion and caring of family members of slain troopers.

The Jerry Marx Awards are given in recognition of contributions to "Traffic Safety" by individual or collective members of the Television, Radio and Print media.

he 2003 Jerry Marx Award recipients are KJRH - Ch. 2 in Tulsa, Woodstone Broadcasting in Ada, and the Duncan Banner.