Community Pushes To Add Gates To Open Gaps In Fence After Tulsa Toddler Deaths

Friday, May 29th 2020, 9:29 pm
By: Sawyer Buccy

TULSA, Okla. - Some community members are pushing for city leaders in Tulsa to add gates to the fence openings along the Mingo Creek embankment near Shoreline Apartments.

Police said siblings Miracle and Tony Crook died after they used one of the openings to walk down into the water. People who want the gates said they are trying to prevent another tragedy. City leaders said adding gates is a safety risk.

This gate is new. It was purchased and placed here by a group of community members. This is the spot where Tulsa Police believe Tony and Miracle Crook got into Mingo Creek. Their bodies were swept downstream and found days later.

"We have this big area where they are inviting children to play. There needs to be protection there for the children because even older children could fall, that is very steep," said community member Debbie Robertson.

There are staircases, or places to exit the creek along the embankment. Every single exit that we could see, except for two, had an opening in the fence line - one gate the community put up this week, the other gate they said has always been there.

Protestors met in front of City Hall Friday to push Tulsa leaders to add gates to the open fence lines and allow the gate they added to stay in place. They said they are hoping these added safety measures will prevent another tragedy.

"We wanted to make sure we put up a gate that is properly installed, swings fully open both ways. It is not going to be a hinderance for emergency access and we put the latch up really high so little ones can't get it," said Robertson.

"We are not asking you to put a padlock on it. We are not asking you to make it to where no one can get down there," said protestor Lance Blades.

The City of Tulsa said the fence was built in the 1980's, by the Army Corps of Engineers due to flooding and the City is responsible for the upkeep. They said there are no plans to close the emergency exits because the water in the creek can surge at any time. They said the steps and openings in the fence are to help anyone in the creek, get out.

"If you live anywhere near the water then you have got to understand that that danger is there. It is up to us as parents to ensure that our children are safe," said Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin.