MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

January 19, 2013

Pickup hits, kills Warner pedestrian

Victim, driver were headed for same place

By Wendy Burton
Phoenix Staff Writer

— A Warner man who was hit and killed while walking to work early Friday was described as devoted to his wife and two young sons.

“He was just a young man trying to take care of his family the best he could,” said Robert Wheat, a brother-in-law to the victim, Christopher Buchanan.

“He was a real loving father. He was trying to go to work this morning, and he lost his life. It’s a tragic thing, a bad deal all the way around.”

Buchanan, 26, was walking in the southbound lane of West Third Avenue in Warner about 5:20 a.m., heading to his job at a McDonald’s restaurant.

Cole Tittle, 21, was driving a truck southbound to McDonald’s for coffee, Police Chief Terry Thompson said.

The truck’s right front fender hit Buchanan, throwing him more than 180 feet, Thompson said.

“Two men, going about normal business and heading to the same place — and that is just hard to understand, hard to take in,” he said. “I know that’s the way life is sometimes, but it just breaks my heart.”

Muskogee County Emergency Medical Service was called to the scene by a woman who saw the collision, according to 911 call logs.

The Warner Volunteer Fire Department also responded. Buchanan was pronounced dead when Muskogee County EMS arrived, said Rebecca Smith, a spokeswoman.

The call logs show that Tittle was taken to EASTAR Health System for a blood test.

Thompson said police requested the blood test as a matter of routine.

“Any time we have a fatality accident, the driver is required to take a blood test,” he said. “We saw no indication the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”

Tittle received two citations.

“One for driving in excess of the posted speed limit and one for inattentive driving,” Thompson said. “But that doesn’t mean he was at fault in the accident. He (Buchanan) had a camouflage jacket on, and it appears he may have had headphones on. It was just an unfortunate accident.”

It was dark, and Tittle failed to see Buchanan until it was too late, Thompson said.

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or wburton@muskogeephoenix.com.