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Okla. officer succumbs to injuries after crash during procession for fallen LEO

Joseph Barlow died Monday from injuries sustained on Friday when he was struck head-on during an escort to a funeral home

Patrolman Joseph Barlow

Joseph Barlow served in the U.S. Army before working for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. He was sworn in as a patrolman for the McAlester Police Department on Aug. 12, 2021.

McAlester Police Department/Facebook

Duty Death: Joseph Barlow - [McAlester]

End of Service: 20/03/2023

By Derrick James
McAlester News-Capital

MCALESTER, Okla. — The McAlester Police Department announced Patrolman Joseph Barlow died Monday after succumbing to injuries received in a head-on collision.

MPD said Barlow was surrounded “by many family, friends and local law enforcement officers” when he died Monday, and he served his country and the community of McAlester “with great pride.”

“We ask that you keep officer Barlow’s friends, family, and community in your thoughts as they grieve this great loss and continue to cope with recent tragedies,” the department said.

Barlow graduated from McAlester High School in 2015 and served in the U.S. Army before working for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

He was sworn in as a patrolman for the McAlester Police Department on Aug. 12, 2021.

Barlow died Monday at St. John Medical Center in Tulsa from injuries received in a head-on collision Friday during an escort for fallen McAlester Police Capt. Richard Parker.

Several officers from MPD traveled to Tulsa Friday to escort Parker from the medical examiner’s office to a funeral home in Wetumka.

The Glenpool Police Department said officers were notified around 6:27 p.m. on Friday, March 17, of a head-on collision on Highway 75 just north of 151st St. South.

Martin Rodriguez was driving a black Ford F-250 truck with one passenger, failed to stop for the procession and swerved to avoid hitting a stopped vehicle, according to Glenpool PD.

Glenpool PD said the truck then crossed the center median and struck the McAlester police vehicle head-on.

Barlow had to be extracted from his patrol unit and was taken by ambulance to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa and underwent multiple surgeries.

Tulsa County Jail records show Rodriguez was booked on misdemeanor complaints of no driver’s license in possession while driving, reckless driving, and a felony count of causing great bodily harm while driving without a driver’s license.

Jail records show U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement placed a hold on Rodriguez.

Barlow’s family said in a weekend statement they were thankful for the support received from McAlester and communities across the state.

“We have received an outpouring of love, support and prayers which we are grateful,” the statement said. “As a family we have been overwhelmed with all the support. Our family has needed these thoughts and prayers.”

Law enforcement and first responders from across the county gathered along with members of the public Saturday to pray for Barlow and the Parker family.

“People want to be negative about who we are in McAlester and focus on what’s bad,” said Terren Anderson, Pastor of Life Church in McAlester, who led the prayer vigil on the steps of the McAlester Police Department.

“This is everything that’s beautiful about this community, right here today,” Anderson said. “It doesn’t matter who we are; it doesn’t matter our background, it doesn’t matter our skin tone. We are family.”

The vigil began at 1:14 p.m. — coinciding with Barlow’s badge number, 114.

MPD Public Information Officer Lt. Mickey Virden said in a social media statement that March 17 is a day that will live with him and fellow officers.

“As I turned around and came back to the scene, I saw three brothers doing what we do every day for perfect strangers, but now it was for one of our own. Headfirst into a dangerous situation and giving lifesaving measures,” Virden wrote. “I’m so proud of them.”

Virden thanked all the first responders that assisted at the scene in Glenpool.

He also thanked the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Lighthorse Police for finishing Parker’s escort to Wetumka.

“To the citizens of McAlester. Our department is hurting, but we will continue to serve.” Virden wrote.

A fund has been set up to assist Barlow’s family at First National Bank in McAlester. For any questions on how to donate, contact the McAlester Police Department at 918-423-1212.

On Tuesday, a benefit all you can eat steak dinner is scheduled at the Elk’s Lodge in McAlester. The benefit will run from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at 3100 Elk Rd. in McAlester. All you can eat sirloin steak, steak fries, and salad will be available for $15. All proceeds will be donated to the fund at First National Bank.

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