Rogers County officials have charged a teenage driver with manslaughter in the October 2016 death of former University of Tulsa and New York Jets football player Dennis Byrd, whose recovery from a career-ending neck injury was chronicled in an autobiography and the made-for-television movie “Rise and Walk: The Dennis Byrd Story.”
A warrant was issued Tuesday for the arrest of Zachary Reed, 18, of Claremore. The charge alleges that Reed was driving in the oncoming lane when he overcorrected and struck Byrd’s vehicle on Oklahoma Highway 88 between Claremore and Oologah on Oct. 15, 2016. Because Reed was 17 years old at the time of the accident, he has been charged as a youthful offender.
According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol accident report released at the time of the incident, Reed traveled left of center in a 2000 Ford Explorer “for unknown reasons” while traveling northbound on Highway 88, striking the 2004 Hummer H2 driven by Byrd. Reed and a 12-year-old passenger in Byrd’s vehicle were admitted to a Tulsa hospital in stable condition, and both drivers and the passenger in Byrd’s vehicle were wearing seat belts.
According to court documents, witnesses described Reed’s motions on the road as “erratic” in the moments leading up to the collision.
As of Thursday morning, Reed was not listed on the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office inmate roster, and he was also not included in a list of inmates released in the preceding 48 hours. No bond is set in the case, pending Reed’s initial appearance in court.