The Daily Oklahoman, Monday, May 29, 1978

Witness To Shootout Watched From Porch

By Jon Chavez

CADDO – “I was in the yard working in my flower garden when I saw this pickup pull up at their driveway. Two men jumped out and down they went – guns were going off everywhere.”

Addie M. Sailaday, 83, was still nervous as she described the gunbattle that shocked this sleepy southeastern Oklahoma community of about 900 Friday morning.

“I’m so nervous that I’m still jerking bad and I don’t think I’ll get over this for a few days or so. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Mrs. Sailaday was near the front porch of her southwest Caddo residence Friday morning shortly before 10 a.m. when Oklahoma prison escapees Claude Eugene Dennis and Michael Lancaster decided to stage the final chapter in their multi-state death spree just three houses away.

Dennis and Lancaster were gunned down by lawmen on the front lawn of the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Earnest Slack, but not before Trooper Lt. Pat Grimes was killed and Trooper Hoyt Hughes was wounded.

Highway Patrol Trooper Houston “Pappy” Summers and William Young were killed minutes earlier in another gun battle a few miles away near the town of Kenefic.

Mrs. Sailaday, who lives alone on the 400 block of Court Street, said she noticed a blue pickup truck – which the two killers had stolen from a Kenefic farmer Friday morning – drive slowly down her street about 9:30 a.m. and pull into the Slacks’ driveway at 510 Court Street.

“It just drove up to the place slowly,” she said. “When I saw them pull up, I thought it was Mr. Slack coming home early.”

Two men got out of the pickup and walked to the front yard, then jumped to the ground,’ she said.

Mrs. Sailaday said a few second later a white unmarked police car drove up slowly and stopped in front of the Slack house and gunfire “started immediately.”

“I couldn’t tell you who started shooting first,” she said.

“But all of a sudden the policemen came up and guns started firing.” She said after shots started ringing out she moved from her garden to the front porch to watch the gun battle.

Within minutes, “between 15-20 police cars pulled up,” she said.

“They were lined up on the streets. Boy, the gunfire was like you’ve never heard.

Mrs. Sailaday said the first shots rang out about the time the unmarked police car containing two plainclothes officers pulled up. "They (Dennis and Lancaster) just barely got out of their pickup. They were in the cab when the police car pulled up.

She said one patrol trooper (Hughes) got out of the vehicle. The other trooper (Grimes) “didn’t even get out of the car,” she said.

Mrs. Sailaday said the shooting between the men on the lawn and lawmen went on for what seemed like “40 minutes.”

Dennis and Lancaster never did get up off the lawn, she said.