Durant (Okla.) Daily Democrat, June 18, 1978
OHP Making Documentary On Caddo Shoot-Out
OHP Making Documentary On Caddo Shoot-Out
By Carl Hill
Oklahoma Highway Patrolmen were busy this week making a training film on the final day of
a five-week manhunt for escaped convicts Claude Dennis and Michael Lancaster.
The fugitives left three troopers Houston (Pappy) Summers, Bill Young and Pat
Grimes dead in their wake May 26 before they were killed in a shootout at Caddo.
Four offices of the OHP training division in Oklahoma City directed the documentary
Lt. Larry Owens, Lt. Larry Rutherford, Bob Carlton and Don Stockton. They arrived in
Durant Wednesday, but had been working on it almost from the day the manhunt ended in
Owens was in charge of the operation. He said the purpose of the film was two-fold.
"Our primary purpose is to use it for training," Owens said. "But it also
will allow us to tell the story of that day to all the men on the force in a video
structure based on evidence found and eyewitness statements."
In the film, accounts are given by OHP officers directly involved in the Caddo shootout,
the officer in charge of the Kenefic shooting scene, pilot Lloyd Basinger, who directed
operations from the air, and several others.
The OHP film crew arrived Wednesday, quickly checked with the Durant patrol headquarters,
and started to work.
First stop was Russell Washington's home, near Kenefic, where they taped an interview with
the local farmer-rancher and borrowed his pickup for more filming.
It was a phone call from Washington that set into motion the final minutes of the manhunt
for Lancaster and Dennis.
Washington and G. D. Busby were tied up by the escapees, and Washington's pickup stolen by
Nearly five minutes after Lancaster and Dennis left the rural home, Washington had worked
himself loose and was talking to the OHP.
He said he hung up the phone at nearly the same time he saw his blue Ford pickup turn east
on SH 22.
Summers and Young are believed to have been killed while he was talking to the OHP.
Witnesses that saw parts of the shootout between the troopers and the convicts on the
county road between Washington's house and SH 22 were interviewed next.
The troopers used a patrol car similar to the one driven by the two slain troopers and
Washington's pickup to reenact the incident for the film.
Evidence found at the shooting scene was relocated where it was found the day of the
shootings, and OHP officer in charge of the scene John Haynie, formerly of Durant
described the incident based on the evidence found. Eyewitnesses also gave their
account of the story.
Interviewing and filming there was completed Thursday, and the officers moved into the
Caddo area Friday.
Films were made of Washington's pickup traveling the route from the Kenefic shooting scene
to the home of Ernest Slack in Caddo, where the five-week killing and kidnap spree of the
More footage and still photos were taken at the Caddo scene. There the pickup was filmed
from front to back. Close-ups were taken of bullet holes in the windshield, left door,
hood and other parts of the truck. A bloodstained spot in the left seat of the truck also
"We believe Pappy Summers may have hit Dennis in the arm at Kenefic," Owens
said. "There is no evidence we know of to indicate the men returned to the truck
after the shooting began at Caddo, and Dennis had a flesh wound."
Bullet holes in the houses and other places around the scene also were filmed and some of
the officers involved in the Caddo shootout made reports of their involvement.
Lt. Pat Grimes was killed by the convicts at Caddo and Lt. Hoyt Hughes was wounded. They
were the first to arrive.
Hughes was not in Caddo for the filming, but OHP officials said an interview would be made
with him before film was completed.
Lt. Mike Williams, Durant, and Paul Johnson were at the scene and told of their
involvement and recollections of the final gun battle.
They said Lancaster fell first. Williams said he recalls Hughes walking back up the road
firing after he had driven his grey unmarked patrol car out of the line of fire when
Grimes was hit.
Officers said Grimes and Hughes had returned fire at the two fugitives before Grimes was
fatally wounded, Grimes from behind the right door of the patrol car; Hughes from across
the trunk of the car.
Dennis was reportedly shot after he moved to look at his wounded comrade, stood up,
appeared to spot other officers, and raised his rifle.
Williams walked through the events that followed the final volley of fire for the
cameramen to demonstrate the technique used to approach the scene. He said both men were
down when the troopers worked their way to the site.
Williams said Lancaster was still alive and seemed to be trying to raise one of his hands
as if to surrender. He said weapons were removed from the men and they were
Basinger was filmed at the Durant patrol headquarters. He told of first spotting a blue
pickup from his airplane with a white top, dropping down to check it out, finding it was
the wrong truck, moving on to find the correct truck moments later, and following it to
the Caddo scene while he radioed information to troopers on the ground.
Owens said his group was not conducting an investigation. "We are not trying to draw
any conclusions with the film. It is designed to be a factual report of what took place
that day, as well as we can determine it from the evidence and reports."
Capt. H. D. VanArsdell, who directed the 15 mile radius manhunt, was commended by Owens
for the hunt. "Van is one of the most if not the most experienced
commanders in manhunt situations I know," he said. "It appears to have been well
organized, and all the proper patrol
"I've been with the patrol for 30 years, and directed many hunts during that time,
but we have never been after a pair like this. They did not intend to be taken
alive," he said.
He said the official report of the incident is expected to be completed soon. Information
from the report, drawings, maps and other information will be added to the film
documentary before it is finished. The patrol is being assisted by the OSBI and Texas
Rangers with the report. Grimes
and Hughes reportedly would have headed the follow-up investigation if they had not been