Trooper Fatally Wounded
Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers mourn the loss of one of their own. Trooper Matthew Scott Evans was killed while on routine patrol in Oklahoma County early Thursday morning, August 31.
Evans, 24, was patrolling westbound on Interstate 40 when he was hit head-on by a vehicle with two suspects fleeing an officer of the Oklahoma City Police Department. The suspects led the OCPD officer eastbound on the westbound lanes of the interstate in pursuit.
"Today we had two heroes of Oklahoma die. These were two men who were doing what they loved to do," said Commissioner of Public Safety Bob Ricks. "Trooper Matthew Scott Evans, he went by Matt, was a graduate of the 51st academy of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol in August 1999. In sitting down with his wife today, she wanted me to express her feelings that Matt truly loved his work. In fact, he made a comment last week that he couldn't believe he was getting paid to do this job,"
Ricks said being a trooper was a dream of Evans' and that he enjoyed working the evening shift because it was an even higher risk time.
"The late shift required Matt to respond to very dangerous types of situations, and that's exactly what he was doing in this case," said Ricks.
On Thursday morning, Evans received a call from a fellow trooper for assistance on a potential drug stop.
"He was responding to the call when this tragic event occurred. We often times use the word tragedy too loosely. We call bad decisions tragedies. Those are not tragedies. What occurred on Thursday morning was truly a tragedy in that these young men were doing their job and doing it the best way they saw fit, and their lives were snuffed out.
"We see the uniform and we think of tough guys who are strong and do not feel pain and are impenetrable, but here was a young man who graduated salutatorian in his class. His younger brother is in basic training and just received his eagle scout standing before he went away to boot camp with the U.S. Army. His mother, Kathy, is a Department of Public Safety employee who went to work for our agency in 1970. They were truly a part of the DPS family," said Ricks
Evans literally grew up in the halls of the DPS. His mother, Kathy, was an employee even before he was born. It was Mrs. Evans' involvement with the highway patrol during the Oklahoma City bombing, that peaked Evans' interest in becoming a trooper.
"Matt took great interest in the stories his mother relayed to him through her involvement with the highway patrol," said Second Lieutenant Chris West. "His interest continued to increase as he obtained an associate's degree in criminal justice and then applied for the highway patrol."
Evans' was a resident of Midwest City with his wife of two years, Jennifer, age 23. He patrolled Oklahoma County with his assignment to Troop A Headquarters in Oklahoma City. He was a graduate of Choctaw High School.
"We are all saddened by this loss. It's a loss not only for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol but for all of Oklahoma. It's a loss not only for the Oklahoma City Police Department but all of Oklahoma," said Ricks.
Funeral services are set for Tuesday, September 5 at 10 a.m. at the First Southern Baptist Church in Del City, 6400 South Sooner Road. Memorial funds have been set up through the office of the chief of the highway patrol, 405-425-2008.