Friend Says Okfuskee County Deputy's Tires Were Bald Day Of Fatal Wreck

Thursday, September 12th 2013, 5:37 pm
By: News On 6

An Okfuskee County deputy has been killed while on duty.

David Allford died in a fiery crash while responding to a call for help from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

OHP said a tire blew out on Allford's sport utility vehicle, causing it to flip and eject him.

But was Allford's patrol vehicle too dangerous to be on the highway?

Two people contacted News On 6 with concerns about Allford's 2006 Chevy Tahoe.

They said they saw bald tires on the SUV and Allford told them the seatbelt didn't work, but the Okfuskee County Sheriff says that's not true.

08/12/2013 Related Story: Funeral Service Announced For Okfuskee County Deputy Killed In Accident

Those who knew Allford describe him as a great guy, someone who would go the extra mile to help people, someone you could count on when he gave you his word.

He loved his wife and two children and talked about them all the time.

He was an Army veteran and had been in law enforcement in Oklahoma since 2000.

"People are so broken-hearted over this," Vanessa Holmes said.

Holmes said she saw Allford heading out on the call that ultimately would be his last.

As he drove off, she said she noticed his tires.

"They just looked terrible, bald, like he hadn't had new tires in, gosh knows when," Holmes said.

Vanessa said Allford discussed his tires before and told her he was trying to get them fixed, but the department didn't have the money.

She said he also told her months before, that the Tahoe's seatbelt wasn't working.

"He said his seatbelt hadn't worked for a while," Holmes said.

Cathy Neal says Allford told her the seatbelt wasn't working a few weeks ago and says they, too, discussed his tires.

"I said, ‘you could have a blow out, a wreck,' and he said, ‘It won't be my first," Neal said. "I said, ‘but it could be your last.'"

OHP investigators are investigating, which includes an inspection of the vehicle, but fire did a lot of damage.

Sheriff Jack Choate said that two weeks ago, he drove the Tahoe to the repair shop for an alternator issue, after it broke down on Allford. Choate said the seatbelt was working then.

"When they're driving the car, they're responsible to see that the up-keep is done for their car. Tires is something that we order from the distributor, and he delivers tires to us, and then we take them and have the tires mounted and stuff on the vehicle," Sheriff Choate said.

The sheriff produced an Aug. 30 receipt from an Okemah tire shop and said it was for three tires and a spare for the Tahoe.

The sheriff said OHP recovered a part of the tread from the tire and it you couldn't tell the difference between it and a new one.

Choate said they will send it off for analysis and the final report should be back in two weeks.

The sheriff said his focus is dealing with the loss of a deputy and offering support to Allford's family.

The funeral will be Monday.