Creek County Family Coping After Memorial Is Vandalized

Thursday, January 6th 2022, 3:45 pm

CREEK COUNTY, Oklahoma -

A Creek County family says the hits keep coming. First, they lost a beloved family member to a suspected intoxicated driver. Now someone has stolen lights, which the family placed on the victim’s memorial.

The memorial at the crash site is a place of peace for Billie Harper’s family. Although they're in disbelief that someone has vandalized the memorial, they're glad the suspect’s charges have been increased from manslaughter to murder. 

"It is a living nightmare. You think about it 24 hours, seven days a week,” said Billie’s husband, Jared Harper. “It's just been rough. I have had to change my while life around."

For two years, Billie Harper's family has gone to every single court hearing for the suspect, Justin Milwee, to make sure they get justice for Billie. Afterward, they go to Billie's memorial at the crash site.

"We gather up here to celebrate her life and to honor her and someone has stolen our spotlights that we have out here. At least 15 of them,” said Billie’s husband.

Billie's husband said someone has stolen several hundred dollars in solar lights they've put up at the memorial.

"It's really heartbreaking that they would come out here and steal stuff and break stuff. I just can't understand it,” said Harper.

Investigators say Billie was driving on old highway 75 with her 14-year-old daughter the day after Christmas in 2019 when Milwee crashed into them. Billie's daughter and Milwee both survived, with minor injuries.

Milwee’s original manslaughter charge was upped to murder, since he has a previous DUI conviction. He was given a 5-year suspended sentence. That probation ended about a year before this crash happened.

Harper said he and his family just want justice and for people to stop driving under the influence.

"For me, I can't move on with my life really until we get this taken care of,” said Harper. "She was just a great person all around. I just really miss her."

Milwee is currently out of jail on bond. His trial is scheduled to start this spring.