By Tim Farley, News Editor – A Piedmont man has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of two teenagers whose car burst into flames after being struck from behind by a second vehicle traveling more than 100 miles per hour, prosecutors allege.
Canadian County prosecutors filed the murder counts against David Christopher Cochlin, 48, Friday. The charge alleges Cochlin had a blood-alcohol content level of .208 and was traveling 149 mph five seconds before impact. The investigation, conducted by Oklahoma City police, also revealed Cochlin’s vehicle speed at 106 miles per hour just prior to impact.
Police are searching for Cochlin, who had not been arrested as of Friday afternoon. Anyone with information about his whereabouts are asked to call 911.
Police were able to determine Cochlin’s speed after obtaining the electronic data recorder from the defendant’s 2017 Mercedes CLS.
Killed in the accident were Southwest Covenant graduates Sean Matthew Tucker and Luke Cooper Ross. Both teens were home on Christmas break from college when they were killed.
Mark Sexton, an Oklahoma City police sergeant, wrote in a probable cause affidavit that Cochlin refused to allow police to take his blood. The blood was drawn after police obtained a court order.
The blood test also showed Cochlin tested positive for Oxycodone and Oxymorphone, both of which are narcotic analgesics.
The victims were in a 2003 Ford Ranger pickup when Cochlin struck them from behind at the intersection of NW 150 and Mustang Road, the police investigation shows. The victims were traveling just north of the intersection’s stop sign when Cochlin ran the stop sign and struck the pickup, Sexton wrote in the affidavit. Tucker and Ross burned to death in the pickup, police said.
“The defendant was traveling at such a high rate of speed he was not able to stop his vehicle for the stop sign for northbound traffic,” Sexton wrote.
The collision occurred Dec. 15 about 11 p.m.
Prosecutors also charged Cochlin with first-degree manslaughter, which will allow a jury to consider both charges should the case advance to the trial stage. A murder conviction carries a punishment of not less than 10 years in prison and punishment for manslaughter is not less than four years in prison.
Multiple sources said Cochlin’s son was friends with the victims.