Sheila Stogsdill

Special to the Grove Sun

BY SHEILA STOGSDILL

VINITA A chase along the Will Rogers Turnpike in Craig County has left a retired Army sergeant dead, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported Friday.

Lamont Rainwater, 42, of Lawton, died about 5 p.m. Thursday from injuries he received after being thrown through the window of his Toyota Camry, the patrol reported.

Rainwater, a 20-year Army veteran, had recently retired, said Debra Rainwater, his wife. The father of five served two tours in Iraq. It's not clear what prompted him to flee.

Debra Rainwater said her husband was in northeast Oklahoma because the family was looking into moving to a community between Tulsa and Joplin, Mo.

The two-mile chase ended when Rainwater drove onto the outside shoulder of the highway and struck a cement barrier wall near the McDonalds restaurant that arches over the interstate. His vehicle rolled several times and landed in the McDonald's eastbound off-ramp, the report states.

Both vehicles reached speeds up to 115 mph, said Lt. George Brown, highway patrol spokesman.

The chase began after Rainwater, who was driving in the eastbound lane on Interstate 44, made a lane change without using his signal, Brown said. He accelerated his speed and failed to stop when the trooper activated his lights to stop him because of the traffic infraction, he said.

Rainwater died at the scene, the report states.

Troopers did not recover any drugs or weapons during their inventory before impounding the vehicle, Brown said.

Rainwater was the squad leader within the Warrior Transition Unit, said Emily Kelley, Fort Sill spokeswoman.

A Warrior Transition Unit provides personal support to wounded soldiers who require at least six months of rehabilitative care and complex medical management, said Larry F. Icenogle, public affairs officer. The squad leader coordinates soldiers' care with other clinical and nonclinical professionals, he said.