Oklahoma Mom Relieved Suspect In Fatal DUI Crash Is Back In State

Wednesday, August 28th 2013, 11:14 pm
By: News On 6

A Green Country mother is relieved now that the man accused of killing her daughter is back behind bars.

The suspect walked out of a Tulsa hospital and was on the run for a year, then had a change of heart, and turned himself in to authorities in Alabama.

It was a long trip to extradite James Brown from Jackson County, Alabama, to Okmulgee, Oklahoma.

"Maybe he was just tired of running, I don't know, but I was tickled," Brenda Cooksey said.

For Cooksey, the journey was even longer.

"I'm hoping they'll move quick on it, because three years is long enough," Cooksey said.

Her daughter, Tonia Cruz, and Clay Reynolds were both killed in July 2010. Investigators say Brown was driving drunk and hit the friends head-on.

Cooksey's pain was magnified when Brown escaped custody before standing trial.

8/14/2013 Related Story: Man Wanted For Deadly Oklahoma Crash Surrenders in Alabama

Brown was at the Okmulgee County jail and was transferred to Muskogee County to face unrelated charges. He had to go to the hospital for heart surgery and was released before Okmulgee County could go pick him back up.

Authorities searched for him for a year; then suddenly, he came to them.

Investigators don't know why Brown turned himself in down in Alabama. He now sits in the Okmulgee County Jail once again.

"He's finally maybe going to man up for what he did and take the consequences," Cooksey said.

She is now raising her grandson, Chase, who just started kindergarten and often misses his mom.

"He patted his mama's headstone and he told her, he said, 'Mama, I love you, and I miss you and I wish you were here to do the things you are supposed to be doing with me,'" Cooksey said.

She's looking forward to Brown's court hearings.

"I'll be at every one of them, and I will stare him down like he's never been stared down before," Cooksey said.

Cooksey said she hopes he stays behind bars for good.

Brown will go before a judge on September 11, 2013, for two counts of manslaughter involving the deadly wreck.

The Okmulgee County District Attorney's Office says it plans to file an additional charge of bail jumping.