LAWTON — For most Comanche County residents, being stopped by the police for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs triggers a series of events — a breathalyzer test, arrest, and transportation to the Comanche County Detention Center. An individual sobers up, and either posts bond or is released, pending a potential arraignment and/or upcoming court date. The process itself is all-too-familiar for many. A mug shot is taken. A file is created. Due process begins.
But, for CCDC Captain Isaiah Daniel Orr, the process was dramatically different.
Comanche County Sheriff's Office records indicate Orr was stopped by a deputy around 10:41 p.m. Saturday after the deputy observed Orr's "white lifted Ford F250 with oversize tires traveling eastbound on U.S. 277 on the shoulder (of the road)."
The deputy's report narrative describes what he observed.
"A vehicle was put out (on the radio) a few minutes prior of a possible intoxicated driver failing to maintain lane that exited I-44 at the Elgin exit. I initiated my emergency lights to conduct a u-turn on U.S. 277, attempting to catch up to the vehicle. As I approached the vehicle at N.E. Happy Hollow Road from behind, the vehicle was driving left of center, crossing onto the shoulder, making a 'jerking' movement of the vehicle in both directions."
The deputy reports Orr's truck came to a stop on U.S. 277 just east of Tony Creek Road in Elgin. The deputy reported smelling "a strong odor of an adult alcoholic beverage coming from within the vehicle and the driver's person" as he approached Orr's truck.
Records indicate Orr told the deputy he had not been drinking and that he was coming from Medicine Park. When asked to step out of the truck, the deputy reports Orr had "a hard time (exiting the truck) by holding on (to the truck) and was staggering and unsteady on his feet constantly."
"I had to assist him to the back of his truck to ensure he wouldn't fall over," the deputy reports.
Records indicate Orr was then given a field sobriety test, during which "he became even more unsteady on his feet." Orr was then placed in handcuffs and read the Oklahoma state Implied Consent and Miranda warning. The deputy reports Orr agreed to take the state's breath test at the Lawton Police Department. The deputy reports placing Orr in the front seat of his patrol vehicle and driving him to the LPD facility, where Orr then "refused to take the state's test."
Oklahoma is an "implied consent" state, which means anyone possessing an Oklahoma driver's license is deemed, by law, to have given consent to one of several tests available to law enforcement officers who have reason to believe an individual may be operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Refusing to take the test typically triggers an automatic series of penalties, which may include a six-month to a three-year suspension of the individual's driver's license, a $1,000 fine and/or incarceration for up to one year, and/or the installation of an "interlock device" on the individual's vehicle.
After refusing to take the state's test, Orr was issued a warning for "driving left of center" and cited for driving under the influence. A CCSO citation and report indicates Orr was released on "signed personal recognizance," using a process called "arrest and summons," rather than being booked into the CCDC or an alternative detention facility.
Elgin police officers assisting the deputy with the traffic stop discovered a loaded handgun under the driver's seat of Orr's truck. There is no mention in the report provided to The Chronicle or in the citation issued to Orr of any charge for being in possession of a loaded firearm while intoxicated — a separate offense under Oklahoma statutes.
What happened next is unclear. The deputy's report narrative as provided to The Chronicle does not indicate whether Orr was cited and released at the LPD facility or the CCDC. Sources close to the matter who provided information to The Chronicle on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation reported that CCDC Administrator William Hobbs intervened on Orr's behalf.
"We cannot release somebody that's intoxicated," Comanche County Undersheriff Doyle Tosh said. "We have to turn them over to somebody that's a responsible individual that could make sure that they get home, that could make sure something else doesn't happen."
Tosh confirmed Orr was released to Hobbs.
When reached by phone Tuesday, Comanche County Detention Center Administrator William Hobbs offered no explanation for how Orr came to be released on his own recognizance — a departure from the standard operating procedure in similar cases.
"I really can't comment on it because it's still being investigated, and it's been turned over to the D.A.'s office for right now until they make a decision on it," Hobbs said. "I have to wait and see what the D.A. has decided on that.
"He never was actually brought inside the jail."
Hobbs confirmed CCDC has a plan in place for high-risk inmates — inmates whose occupation or position would subject them to a higher than normal risk of violence or retaliation if they were to be housed with the Detention Center's general population.
"We would — you know anybody in that vine, I guess, a sheriff's deputy or OHP trooper or the mayor of some town, we would move them to another county," Hobbs said. "We would move them out of this county."
Hobbs declined to offer any explanation for why CCDC did not follow that procedure in Orr's arrest, nor could he provide any information regarding any disciplinary action which may or may not be taken against Orr.
"We'll have to discuss that once we find out what charges we're dealing with," Hobbs said. "I'm sure it'd be some kind of modification, but that really depends on what we're dealing with as far as charges."
Orr is next scheduled to appear in court at 2 p.m. April 15 at 315 S.W. 5th Street in Lawton.