Skiatook Family Seeking Justice 2 Years After Son Dies In DUI Crash

Six months after Clifton Smith was killed in a DUI crash, the same driver crossed the center line again and had another head-on crash, and still, no charges. Clifton's parents told News On 6’s Lori Fullbright they need the driver to be held accountable.

Wednesday, September 20th 2023, 10:26 pm



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A Skiatook couple's 23-year-old son was killed in a DUI, head-on crash two years ago, and they are still waiting on charges to be filed in the case.

Six months after Clifton Smith was killed, the same driver crossed the center line again and had another head-on crash, and still, no charges.

Clifton's parents told News On 6’s Lori Fullbright they need the driver to be held accountable. They need justice.

Clifton Smith's parents adopted him when he was 18 months old and say he was a kindhearted young man who loved animals and old people.

Clifton had some developmental delays but had a heart filled with kindness for others.

"The principal said he was the first kid to school and the last one to get to class because he would pass by everyone's classroom, giving them a pretend present," said Karen Smith, Clifton’s mother.

They said he had a wonderful sense of humor and participated in bowling for the Special Olympics.

He got his driver's license, graduated high school, worked at Wal-Mart pushing carts, and got his dream vehicle, this orange 1972 Chevy truck.

Clifton's Orange Truck

"His statement at the end of the day, ‘You have a nice day?’ ‘I got two thumbs up going down Main Street today,’" said Brett Smith, his father.

Clifton was driving his pride and joy on November 4th, 2021, going to a buddy's house, when OHP says Jacob Gilmartin was driving high, going fast, crossed the center line, and slammed head-on into Clifton and his bright orange truck.

Clifton's parents couldn't get ahold of him, and the highway a few miles from their house was closed for a wreck, so fearing the worst, they headed that way.

"Right here at this intersection is where everything played out for us. It was as far as they'd let us come," Brett said.

IntersectionImage Provided By: News On 6

They could see the flashing lights and the Life 360 app showed Clifton's phone had been on the highway for hours, so they waited for the news they knew was coming but prayed would not.

"He said, sir, I'm sorry to inform you, your son has expired, and there were a lot of blank spots after that for both of us. Can't remember a lot of things that happened after that," Brett said.

Their boy was gone, and they had a lot of questions about who and why, and what would be done about it.

"Witnesses say he was coming up this hill, he was jumping from lane to lane, running cars off the road, and they've got room to get off here, but, come over this hill, sees my son's orange truck and guess that was his target," Brett said.

"He took a big important part of our life,” Karen said. “I'll never get to see him do things other people do, maybe marry, have kids. I won't be a grandma now."

Clifton's Tombstone

OHP's report said Jacob Gilmartin was high at the time of the crash. He was booked into jail but released after 60 days when the Cherokee Courts didn't file any charges, and no charges have been filed in federal court either. At the time, Gilmartin was on a suspended sentence in Osage County for having a gun as a felon and drugs.

Six months after the crash that killed Clifton, OHP says Gilmartin once again crossed the center line and slammed head-on into someone. This time, it was a dump truck, and that driver wasn't injured, but Gilmartin was, ending up with a traumatic brain injury.

His family set up a GoFundMe account raising nearly $14,000, and they documented his recovery on TikTok on a page called JacobsTBIJourney, which has more than 280,000 followers.

Clifton's family is sorry for Gilmartin's injury, but they believe if he's well enough to be a husband and father and make videos on social media, he's well enough to be prosecuted.

"He needs to be convicted and sent to jail," Karen said. “We want justice, and he deserves justice. Clifton deserves justice."

The Gilmartin Family released the following statement:

Our hearts go out to the Smith family during this difficult time. We share in their sorrow and pain as we come to terms with the accident caused by Jacob. The legal proceedings at both the state and federal levels in Oklahoma have left us deeply frustrated. The handling of this case has raised serious concerns and has left us equally disillusioned. We had hoped for a more rigorous pursuit of justice, one that would have seen Jacob face the consequences of his actions.
It's important to emphasize that our disappointment is not confined solely to the outcome of the case, but also to the unexpected release of Jacob after only a few months. This caught us off guard, leaving us questioning the effectiveness of the judicial system in Oklahoma and federally. We had anticipated a thorough investigation and a lawful resolution, including appropriate charges and due process. Instead, we find ourselves grappling with the reality that he was released without charges or bail, awaiting further action from the US Attorneys.
The US attorneys have been duly informed of his condition following the traumatic brain injury he sustained in May of 2022. Jacob's current cognitive state is that of a person who requires constant guidance and supervision, as his traumatic brain injury has left him with the cognitive capacity of a child. He is confined in a different kind of prison, one defined by his limitations and the support he needs for even basic tasks. We acknowledge the valid frustrations expressed by the Smiths, as it must be incredibly challenging for them to witness Jacob's seemingly normal life despite the circumstances.
Furthermore, it's important to clarify that while Jacob has become a father due to his wife's pregnancy before the accident, his role as a dad is hindered by his condition. He is not able to be an actively involved parent due to his limitations. Our family continues to grapple with the complex emotions tied to these developments.
In conclusion, we stand united with the Smith family in their grief and anger. We understand their desire for a more just resolution and a thorough examination of the legal proceedings that have unfolded. Our hope is that through understanding and empathy, we can collectively navigate the challenges that have emerged from this tragic accident.

The Cherokee Nation tells News on 6, “The Cherokee Nation Attorney General’s Office has been in contact with our federal and state law enforcement partners on this matter from the beginning and I remain confident justice will be done in this case.”

The US Attorney's office said they can't comment on open cases.

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