William Wheeler, an investigator with the District 23 Drugs and Violent Crimes Task Force, recently received the first ever Nicholas Dees Memorial Award from the Oklahoma Buckle Down Association.
Wheeler and other law enforcement officers volunteer their time for Nick's Promise, an effort to teach students about the dangers of distracted driving. The effort honors a state trooper killed in 2015.
On Jan. 31, 2015, State Troopers Nicholas Dees and Keith Burch were investigating an accident on Interstate 40 east of Shawnee when a driver allegedly updating his Facebook page struck Dees and Burch.
Burch was transported to OU Medical Center in serious condition and has since recovered, but Dees was pronounced dead on the scene. The driver was arrested a week after the crash on charges of first-degree manslaughter and later sent to prison.
Nick’s Promise was started to educate students on the dangers of texting and driving.
Wheeler, a former Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Deputy, was also on the scene of the accident that night and narrowly missed getting hit.
Nick's Promise presentations are made all over the state. On March 11, the program will be at Latta. And on March 21, Wheeler said Nick's Promise for the first time will be crossing state lines as he goes to give a presentation at two different high schools in Kansas.