Police said an attempted traffic stop due to bright headlights turned into a high-speed pursuit through south Lawton that ended with a couple of crashes.
Philemon Royce Baker, 64, of Lawton, made his initial appearance Tuesday in Comanche County District Court where he received a felony charge of endangering others while eluding/attempting to elude police, as well as misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence, driving without a valid license, failure to carry insurance and operating a vehicle with defective equipment or unsafe conditions, records indicate. Due to five prior felony convictions, he faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Baker was seen driving a Nissan Altima with its high beams on shortly before 11 p.m. Nov. 20 near Southwest 2nd Street and Lee Boulevard and when a Lawton police officer tried to pull him over he, instead, accelerated quickly, the probable cause affidavit states. Speeds reached over 90 miles-per-hour as the pursuit followed southbound on U.S. 281.
Police said Baker drove into oncoming traffic and attempted an abrupt turned at Southwest 6th Street that sent him sliding into a gravel parking lot at Roosevelt Avenue, the affidavit states. After coming to a stop, the Nissan took off again, this time westbound towards Southwest 11th Street, according to police.
Once he reached Southwest 11th and went southbound, he lost control at New York Avenue, crashed into a mailbox, crossed the road and crashed into a Dodge Charger before going through a chainlink fence, a yard and back onto the road, according to the affidavit. With parts of the fence stuck under the Nissan as it continued westbound, sparks and flames were seen coming from under the car before Baker, again, lost control and crashed into a Chevrolet Impala at Southwest 12th Street, police said.
Officers stated Baker smelled of alcohol when he was being taken into custody. When asked if he would take a blood test, Baker responded by shaking his head no. He made several spontaneous statements to medical staff that he was going through withdrawals from ice (crystal methamphetamine) and “little blue pills,” the affidavit states. He also apologized and said he’d been drinking earlier, according to police.
Baker has five prior felony convictions from Comanche County: June 1987, burglary; September 1988, uttering a forged instrument; May 1994, two counts of larceny of merchandise from a retailer; and July 2005, robbery with a dangerous weapon, records indicate.
Held on $50,000 bond, Baker returns to court at 3 p.m. March 5, 2024, for his preliminary hearing conference.