The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 19, 2013

2 injured in Johnson crash, 1 critical as car catches fire

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Two men were hospitalized after their car struck a tree and caught fire Monday night in the 1300 block of South Johnson.

Alcohol played a role in the wreck, Enid police said.

Chase D. Bittner, 23, was taken from the scene to Integris Bass Baptist Health Center with non-incapacitating head and internal and external body injuries. He was admitted in stable condition, police said.

Casey R. Maxwell, 25, was taken to St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center and was admitted in critical condition with head, arm, leg, internal and external body injuries.

According to a Enid Police Department report, Bittner was driving a 2001 Chevy Malibu south on Johnson at about 10:46 p.m. Monday, when he failed to negotiate the curve at Ponca, struck a curb, drove into a yard and hit a tree at 1359 S. Johnson.

Bittner was cited for DUI resulting in great bodily injury, but was not arrested due to his injuries and hospitalization, police said. The collision remains under investigation.

Shane Smith, whose girlfriend lives at the residence where the tree was struck, said he thought someone was trying to break into the house when the collision occurred. He said he got up and looked out the window, discovering the wreck.

“It sounded like somebody reared back and hit the front door with a baseball bat,” he said. “I saw a car wrapped around a tree, and there were flames coming out of the motor. I ran out and tried to help.”

The tree that was struck is about 8-10 feet from the front door of the home, Smith said.

He said he pulled Bittner from the vehicle, but was hesitant to move Maxwell due to his extensive injuries. He said he used the home’s garden hose to keep the fire at bay until emergency responders arrived.

As he was tending to the two men, Smith said a pregnant woman also stopped to help after seeing the wreck.塔