MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

November 4, 2013

Charges filed in fatal accident

Driver named in two counts of manslaughter

By Elizabeth Ridenour
Phoenix City Editor

— A Tahlequah man was charged Monday with two counts of first-degree manslaughter following a June crash that killed two people.

Court documents state that Ryan C. Molina, 23, also is charged with:

• Driving under the influence with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more — great bodily injury.

• Driving under the influence with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more — personal injury accident.

• Driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

Molina’s bond was set at $40,000. As of Monday evening, Molina remained incarcerated at the Cherokee County Detention Center.

According to witnesses listed in court documents, Molina had been drinking and was stumbling around at a party before the crash. Witnesses also stated Molina was intoxicated before they saw him drive off from the party.

The charges are the result of a crash June 15 that claimed the lives of Paul Blevins Jr., 19, and Michael Rogers, 14, and injured five people, including Molina.

Blevins and Rogers were pronounced dead at the scene at Indian Road and Pettit Bay Road, approximately six miles south of Tahlequah. Both died of massive head and internal injuries, according to the report by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper.

Micah Holcomb, 18, of Tahlequah; Haley Seal, 16, of Tahlequah; Christian Hooper, 22, of Tahlequah; Casey Kelly, 15, of Tahlequah; and Molina were injured, the report states.

According to the OHP report, the crash happened about 3:45 a.m. Molina was driving a 2003 Ford truck westbound on Pettit Bay Road at high speed when he failed to stop at a stop sign. The truck struck a tree, ejecting Hooper, who was a passenger inside the truck, and ejecting Kelly, Seal, Blevins and Rogers, who were riding in the bed of the truck. Another passenger, Toland Bitsilly, 23, of Newcomb, N.M., was not injured. Molina was the only person in the truck who was wearing a seat belt. The truck’s airbags did not deploy, the report states.

Molina will be back in Cherokee County District Court at 9 a.m. Dec. 2 for a sounding docket. At that time, a date will be set for a preliminary hearing.

If convicted of manslaughter, Molina could be sentenced from four years to life in prison.

Reach Elizabeth Ridenour at (918) 684-2929 or eridenour@muskogeephoenix.com.