By Chris Wright, The News On 6
SAPULPA, OK -- Five years after an accident killed a Sapulpa police officer and his father, a stretch of road has been dedicated in their memory.
Officer Larry Cantrell and his father Charles were killed while responding to a call. His co-workers say Cantrell was a phenomenal young officer, and he and his dad are finally receiving the recognition they deserve.
Dozens of family members, friends and former co-workers braved the sweltering heat for Sunday's ceremony. A mile-long stretch of state Highway 66 is now officially known as the Officer Larry W. Cantrell and Mr. Charles L. Cantrell Memorial Highway.
It is not far from the stretch of Route 66 that the father and son lost their lives. Officer Cantrell was on patrol the night of July 30, 2005, and his father was riding along with him. They were responding to a call for backup from another officer when they were struck by a car.
Fred Clark was one of the first to arrive at the accident.
"Certainly something that sticks with you five years later," Fred Clark, Sapulpa FOP President, said. "Every day, every day."
Fellow officers say Cantrell was a laid back but dedicated officer who had a bright future with the department. More importantly, they say he was a true friend, and deserves this memorial.
"It means a lot to me. It reminds the community that one of the officers that's here to protect and serve them made a sacrifice, and this is our way of letting them know we don't ever want them forgotten in the community," Clark said.
The 34-year-old was a Navy vet, and also worked for the Vinita Police Department. His 59-year-old father Charles was a truck driver and Army vet.
Sapulpa police say renaming the highway is a small token that means a great deal to them.
"And I'm sure each of us will drive by that sign with a small measure of pride each time we see it," said Lt. Jamie Noe, Sapulpa Police. "We'll always have him close to our hearts."
Cantrell was the first Sapulpa officer killed on duty since the 1930's. He and his father are buried beside each other.