By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
A January trial date is set for a man charged in a semi-truck/motorcycle crash that killed a longtime Yukon businessman at the State Highway 66-Banner Road intersection.
Wynnewood’s Donald Garrett Biffle, 27, appeared by video at his formal district court arraignment on Oct. 22 before District Judge Jack D. McCurdy in Canadian County District Court.
Biffle faces 10 years to life in prison a felony second-degree murder charge and two more years in jail and fines totaling $2,000 on drug possession charges.
The defendant was formally charged this April for causing a fatal traffic collision Nov. 24, 2019 at SH-66 and Banner Road. Yukon’s Ray Lee Davis, 73, died at the scene of blunt force trauma after Biffle allegedly failed to yield by running through a stop sign.
The defendant, now at the Canadian County Jail, did not appear in person at the Oct. 22 court hearing after testing positive for COVID earlier this month. He is still in quarantine.
Judge McCurdy announced a jury trial at 9 a.m. Jan. 4. A motions hearing was set Nov. 12 and call docket on Dec. 17.
Biffle’s attorney, Pat Pate, told the judge he didn’t expect any motions to be filed.
“I believe we’re going to work under a blind plea,” Pate said. “That December 17th date would be a good day to do that.”
At the end of the hearing, Pate told Biffle he will come see him in jail when his client is off COVID quarantine.
NAVY VETERAN, BUSINESSMAN
Prosecutors allege Biffle was driving a 1996 Peterbilt semi-truck and trailer while under the influence of methamphetamine when he collided with Yukon’s Davis, who was operating a 2019 Kawasaki motorcycle.
Davis was a U.S. Navy veteran who owned a retail carpet store in Yukon. The victim’s family members were in the audience at Biffle’s latest court hearing.
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, according to an OHP report.
Biffle had a previous driving under the influence conviction in Oklahoma County in November 2012, court records show.
The SH-66/Banner Road intersection has been the site of several dozen serious traffic accidents, including several fatalities, since the early 1990s.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation plans to make permanent upgrades to the intersection, such as traffic signal lights or a roundabout.
A four-way stop with flashing red lights, large advance warning signs and rumble strips were installed in February as interim safety measures.