MUSKOGEE COUNTY, Oklahoma - The Muskogee County Sheriff's Office and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol successfully removed an improvised explosive device found during a traffic stop on Highway 62 between Muskogee and Fort Gibson Wednesday, January 8.

Muskogee County Sheriff's deputies said what started out as a routine traffic stop escalated when the deputy found what appeared to be an explosive device in the car.

"You don't come across that every day when you are inventorying a vehicle," said Chief Deputy Michael Mahan.

Mahan says Deputy D.J. Masterson stopped John Leroy Pruitt III along Highway 62 around 11 near Fort Gibson for not wearing his seatbelt. Deputies said Masterson saw a gun in Pruitt's car so they arrested him for having a firearm as a convicted felon.

While searching the rest of the car, Deputy Masterson found small cylinder with a pull string that looked like an explosive device.

"Our deputy responded very well - did exactly what he was trained to do: back away, protect the public, and it went very smooth," said Mahan.

The OHP Bomb Squad moved the car off the highway then took the device apart.

Mahan said it is something he's rarely seen in his long career.

"It doesn't happen. I've been doing this for 26 years and can count on one hand this happening. Most of the time, it's not a real device, but we always treat them like they are real, and in this case it was real," Mahan explained.

Deputies tell me they don't know why Pruitt, a Braggs resident, had the explosive. No one was hurt.


While searching the vehicle deputies found what appeared to be and an explosive device. OHP arrived to assist and the highway was closed for about 9 minutes but is open again.