City of Pawhuska honors officer’s actions
Within a few short minutes in the early morning hours of May 4, in Pawhuska, a nightmare unfolded that might have ended with two local law officers killed; except Officer Bobby Sappington did what had to be done.
Sappington, 34, in just his fourth day on the job with the Pawhuska Police Department, opened fire with his service weapon and moved an injured Osage County deputy sheriff out of Lynn Avenue with seconds to spare, as a criminal suspect in a pickup hurtled at high speed in their direction. The deputy, Casey Witt, had a badly broken leg because the suspect allegedly had driven the pickup into him minutes earlier in a traffic stop gone wrong. A third law officer, William Wamego of the Pawhuska P.D., chased the Ford F-150 pickup after it struck Witt and realized in horror that the driver was headed right back to the spot where Witt had fallen.
“It was the most terrifying moment of my career,” Wamego told the Journal-Capital. “I thought both of my friends were going to end up dead.”
Wamego radioed to dispatch what was happening, and he got out of the way to clear a line of fire for Sappington.
Wamego presented a commendation certificate to Sappington during a Pawhuska City Council meeting last week. The certificate cited Sappington for disregarding his own health and safety, displaying courage and firing a shot that wounded the suspect and changed the path of the pickup.
The incident stemmed from an attempt by Witt to conduct a traffic stop on a Ford F-150 driven by a suspect later identified as Cameron Jacob Enox, 26, of Shidler.
Wamego joined Witt in the initial pursuit of the Ford F-150, and offered a description of some elements of the deputy’s attempt to conduct a traffic stop. The vehicle Enox reportedly was driving braked hard, and Witt actually stopped somewhat in front of the pickup, Wamego said. When the pickup backed and turned to flee from the traffic stop, the driver hit Witt while moving forward, Wamego said he recalled. That is different from early news releases on the incident, which described the pickup as backing into Witt.
Sappington tended to Witt after the pickup hit him, broke his leg and left him collapsed on the road.
Enox has been formally charged in Osage County District Court in connection with the May 4 events with two counts of assault, battery or assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, one count of eluding or attempting to elude a police officer, and one count of running a roadblock.
Sappington had served for several years with the Sperry Police Department before joining the Pawhuska department. His commendation certificate conveys to him the thanks of the police chief, the city manager and his peers.