Crime Spree Suspect May Have Caused Tulsa Hit-And-Run Weeks Earlier

Monday, August 26th 2013, 5:53 pm

A crime spree that ended Friday in Chandler actually started Tulsa with a stolen van.

A single suspect is believed to have swapped cars several times on his way toward Oklahoma City, taking them by force, if needed.

Authorities believe a man named Ricky Cox stole three cars before he ever got to Chandler, where he's been connected to the robbery that ultimately got him arrested.

Before all of that, he was connected to one man's brush with death here in Tulsa.

Brian Conatzer is laid up and will be for a while, but he's actually doing a lot better. His leg was broken in three places in a hit and run accident that police say was caused by Ricky Cox.

"He's just a menace," Conatzer said.

8/23/2013 Related Story: Suspect Accused In Crime Spree Arrested In Chandler After Manhunt

Three weeks ago, in the intersection at 31st and Yale, Conatzer was on his motorcycle driving home.

"I started into the intersection and noticed this truck coming at me, the lights, and I just braced for impact and took the impact," Conatzer said.

The motorcycle was bent up, but it can be fixed. Conatzer said he was on the ground with his leg folded backwards over his shoulder when he saw the man who hit him drive away.

"I thought, 'Man, you're real piece of work, a real piece of work.'"

Police say the same man sparked a manhunt Friday near Chandler. It started with several stolen vehicles starting near Tulsa, then to Depew, then on to Lincoln County. Authorities say Cox wrecked a car, robbed a woman, then ran away.

He showed up at a garage a mile away. By then, authorities had closed in and took him into custody.

Back in Tulsa, Conatzer couldn't believe the guy connected to his accident had gone on to cause so many other problems.

"I just thought, 'They need to get this guy off the street before he kills somebody,'" Conatzer said.

Cox has a prior record of auto theft, burglary, and having meth.

He's facing new charges in two counties after Friday's crime spree.

Authorities connected Cox to the hit-and-run in Tulsa, because he left a cell phone in the stolen truck involved in the crash. Police say they looked through the contacts, called his mother, and she told them who they were looking for.