By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
A semi-truck driver charged with murder in a crash that killed a Yukon businessman has been ordered to appear next month before Canadian County’s presiding district judge.
District court arraignment for Oklahoma City’s Donald Garrett Biffle, 27, is set 1:30 p.m. Oct. 22 in Canadian County District Court.
Biffle has been charged with second-degree murder, unlawful possession of controlled dangerous substance and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia in a felony case assigned to District Judge Jack McCurdy.
Biffle was charged with felony murder in April stemming from a fatal traffic collision that occurred Nov. 24, 2019 at the intersection of State Highway 66 and Banner Road.
Prosecutors allege Biffle was driving a 1996 Peterbilt semi-truck and trailer while under the influence of methamphetamine when he collided with Yukon’s Ray Lee Davis, who was operating a 2019 Kawasaki motorcycle.
Davis, 73, was a U.S. Navy veteran who owned a retail carpet store in Yukon.
Biffle had a previous driving under the influence conviction in Oklahoma County in November 2012, court records show.
A preliminary hearing conference for the defendant was Sept. 23 before Special Judge Khristan K. Strubhar.
Biffle is represented by public defenders J.P. Hill and Sammy Duncan of Oklahoma City. An order for appointed counsel was approved Aug. 28 after the defendant filed an affidavit of financial inability to employ his own attorney.
Prosecuting the case is Assistant District Attorney Eric Epplin.
Second-degree murder is punishable by 10 years to life in prison. The defendant faces up to two more years in jail and/or fines totaling $2,000 on the drug charges.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Michael Wallace cited Biffle – who was driving northbound on Banner Road – for failing to yield because he ran through a stop sign at SH-66 in last November’s fatality collision.
Davis was wearing a helmet while riding his motorcycle along SH-66, which – at the time – did not have westbound or eastbound stop signs at the Banner Road intersection.
Davis crashed into the driver’s side of the semi-truck and was pronounced dead at the scene due to blunt force trauma, according to an OHP report.
The SH-66/Banner Road intersection has been the site of several dozen serious accidents, including several fatalities, since the early 1990s.
Since the November 2019 fatal crash, temporary safety improvements have been made to the SH-66/Banner Road intersection.
The intersection – which sees considerable heavy truck traffic – is now a four-way stop with flashing lights in all directions. Large advance warning signs and rumble strips also have been installed.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation, working with Canadian County Commissioners, is considering permanent safety upgrades at SH-66 and Banner Road.
Top primary options are to install a roundabout or new traffic signal lights.