Three are in custody Monday after Pontotoc County Sheriff’s deputies say an Ada man became combative during a traffic stop, threatened deputies and tried to gain access to a concealed gun while being transported to the county jail.
The incident began with an overnight traffic stop Sunday.
Sheriff’s Office records indicate a deputy initiated a traffic stop around 3 a.m. Sunday after observing a vehicle traveling southbound on County Road 3540 near 32nd Street without a headlight.
The deputy obtained identification from and conducted a warrant check on the three individuals inside the vehicle. The warrant check revealed an individual in the back seat had an active warrant for their arrest originating in Pontotoc County for possession of a controlled and dangerous substance (marijuana) within 1,000 feet of a school. The warrant check also revealed the front seat passenger was known to be “violent toward law enforcement.”
Records indicate deputies asked the front seat occupants — driver Hope Rhoten, 20, of Norman, and passenger Rhett Ragland, 23, of Ada — to get out of the vehicle so they could remove the back seat passenger — Charlene Thomas, 53, of Ada. As Thomas stood up to exit the vehicle, records indicate deputies observed a “black handgun later identified as a BB gun sitting in plain sight in the back seat.”
Deputies said they observed behavior from both Rhoten and Thomas that led them to believe the two were under the influence of a controlled substance. While deputies questioned the two, records indicate, Ragland became increasingly uncooperative — refusing to keep his hands where they could be seen, refusing to follow instructions, attempting to distance himself from deputies and a Lighthorse police officer who responded to assist them.
Records indicate Ragland told deputies he “would not be searched” and challenged them to try to search him, becoming increasingly aggressive and hostile toward them. Eventually, deputies used a taser gun to subdue Ragland long enough to handcuff him. After which, records indicate, Ragland “started yelling obscene language, and making threats to every law enforcement officer there.” Once Ragland was detained, deputies placed Rhoten under arrest for driving under the influence of drugs and arrested Thomas on the outstanding warrant and an additional charge of public intoxication.
According to records provided by the Pontotoc County Sheriff’s Office, once Ragland was informed he was being arrested for “obstruction,” he “immediately became irate.” Deputies said Ragland “began yelling obscene language and threats towards (them),” then lunged toward a deputy while in handcuffs. Ragland continued to try to “headbutt” and kick deputies, struggling to “move away from the (Sheriff’s) vehicle.”
Records indicate deputies placed Rhoten and Thomas in separate Sheriff’s Office vehicles so Rhoten could be first transported to Mercy Hospital Ada to have blood drawn under Oklahoma’s Informed Consent statute while Thomas was transported directly to the Pontotoc County Justice Center. Due to Ragland’s continued combative and uncooperative behavior, deputies said they decided to place him in the Lighthorse police officer’s vehicle, which was equipped with a cage-like screen separating the back seat from the front seat.
On the way to the Justice Center, records indicate the Lighthorse officer noticed Ragland continuing to move around in the back seat, removing his right shoe and reaching for his waistband. The Lighthorse officer stopped the vehicle and confronted Ragland, discovering a loaded .45 caliber pistol in Ragland’s waistband.
Records indicate a subsequent search of Ragland revealed a small bag containing methamphetamine and $1,177 in cash. Further investigation determined the gun was reported stolen early this year.
Ragland is currently being held in the Pontotoc County Justice Center in lieu of $500,000 bond and faces additional charges of assault and battery on a police officer, carrying a concealed weapon, knowingly concealing stolen property, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony and possession of a controlled or dangerous substance (methamphetamine).