Olive Assistant Fire Chief Back Home Recovering After Injuries In Hit-And-Run Crash

Assistant Chief Matt Laffoon’s fellow firefighters said he has a long road to recovery, but they'll be with him every step of the way.

Tuesday, April 2nd 2024, 10:33 am



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An Olive volunteer firefighter is out of the hospital after getting hurt by a hit-and-run driver on March 29 while working a wildfire.

Assistant Chief Matt Laffoon’s fellow firefighters said he has a long road to recovery, but they'll be with him every step of the way.

Olive Fire Chief Jason Dobson said his department is devastated after Laffoon was hurt while volunteering last Friday.

“Gut wrenching,” said Dobson. “It breaks your heart because it’s one of your own, and when it’s one of your own, it affects you differently."

Dobson said Laffoon was in a department SUV near Shamrock when Brian Tate hit him head on, then ran away.

Dobson said Laffoon is in good spirits despite not knowing the extent of his injuries.

“We don’t know 100% yet because he still has to have some MRIs done, but it’s on his right shoulder and right arm,” said Dobson. “He’s having severe weakness, numbing, tingling, and sometimes paralysis on the right side.”

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said Creek County deputies arrested Tate on Sunday night at his home in Bristow. Investigators are looking into whether speed and alcohol were factors.

"Because the suspect was caught much later, we're working at a little disadvantage there, although there are ways to help us in that investigation that we're still looking into on how alcohol played a role in that,” said Lt. Mark Southall with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Dobson said Laffoon was the department's firefighter of the year in 2022 and was scheduled to take over for Dobson when he retires. Now, everyone is focused on Laffoon’s recovery.

“We appreciate the love and support that’s been given to us and we ask for continued healing,” said Dobson. “We hope he comes back. We look forward to him coming back.”

Firefighters will discuss any plans for community fundraisers, and News On 6 will keep you updated.

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