Remembering Bill Young: Retired troopers hear presentation from Young's son

·5 min read

May 28—Retired Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers recently held their monthly meeting, focusing on the deadliest day in OHP history.

May 26th marked the 44th anniversary of a shootout in Durant and then Caddo that left three troopers dead, including Woodward's Bill Young.

Retired Trooper L.D. Horstkoetter asked Bob Young to do a memorial presentation on his father.

Bill Young was tasked with his partner from Enid, Houston F. "Pappy" Summers to go find escapees that had been on a crime spree over multiple states. The crimes consisted of rape, robbery and killings, causing much fear and panic among citizens.

Young and Summers left their homes on May 25th 1978 and traveled to Durant. The next morning, the two encountered the escapees and gunfire ensued. Summers and Young were killed on a county road near Kenefic.

The escapees encountered another team of Highway Patrol in Caddo, where they also shot and killed trooper James Grimes. His partner Lt. Hoyt Hughes was also shot, but survived. The escapees were later shot and killed by other troopers.

There is a memorial located on Nails Crossing at the site of the first shootout and also one in Caddo. The memorial stands in honor of not only the three lives lost, but all troopers who have been killed in the line of duty since 1941.

Bob Young reminisced about his father, "Dad was working in the oil field in Sentinel and met a young lady working in a cafe. They got married later. Mom followed Dad around the oilfield and when my older brother was born they decided to settle down. Dad applied for the highway patrol."

The investigating trooper said of Young, "I am very much impressed with this application, he will be able to work in any unit. His reputation is outstanding and has a nice family. I believe if he is accepted, he will be a 20 year man and be considered an above average trooper."

Bill Young was given the second issue badge #117 and wore it for 23 years and 2 months.

"Dad was pretty proud of that number. He had a note with the tag office that when the tag 117 was stamped, it was set back for him each year," Bob Young said.

There was a story that Bob Young spoke about when his dad invited a local reporter, Robert E. Lee, to ride along with him for an eight hour shift after he had already worked a nine hour shift.

"On a Friday night, Woodward was playing Fairview at home and Waynoka was playing Mooreland, so he was working traffic from Bouse Junction to Woodward. The last car they had come in contact with was a couple from Texas and they were really mad that they got pulled over. He wrote how dad stayed with the driver after he wrote him a $20 ticket and they were laughing when they left. That's how dad was with people," Bob Young said.

Bill Young also loaned one of the two uniforms he had to Gage High School for a play, when they finished with it, they had it cleaned and pressed for him.

"Dad would also take me with him to go to the schools and give bicycle safety talks. I was also able to go to the radio station when he would do 2-3 minute safety talks and record his message. I believe his career really took off when he volunteered to do the motor vehicle inspections," Bob Young said.

One of the other inspirational stories Bob Young told about his dad, was that he didn't even let a cast on his leg stop him from doing his job.

"I got to ride with him one time, he pulled someone over near Seiling, had his ticket book, his crutches and wrote him a ticket," Bob Young said.

Bill Young also assisted during the football games.

"The high school principal was a family friend, and asked dad if he could escort the school official to the bank at half time. It worked kind of two-fold so he could watch me play, mom would sit in the car and listen to the game on the radio to keep warm," Bob Young said. "My last home game as a senior I caught a real long pass and by the goal post was dad and the principal. Dad was just waving me on. He was my biggest fan. I will never forget that."

On May 25, 1978, Bob Young, then 21, came home for lunch from his job working in the oilfield.

"Mom and my brother were home and she was helping pack bags. I didn't know what was going on. Dad explained that he got called to go look for the escapees. I was concerned if he was going to be back for my birthday on the 29th and he said he was going to try. We watched him drive east down Cherry Street for the last time," he said.

Bob Young added, "I got a chance to talk to Lt. Mike Williams and was told that he shot everything he had, he just ran out of ammunition."

Bill Young was a big part of the community and people were shocked by the shooting and his death. Most downtown businesses closed for the funeral on May 31.

Later, Bob Young said his mom was at the airport in Las Vegas and a trooper spotted her OHP necklace and asked her about it. They introduced themselves and he stated he saw the training film. The film was made in late 1978 about the shootings. Changes have spread across the country due to the video.