The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

January 19, 2013

Records detail Stephens' exit as city worker

ENID, Okla. — Enid City Commission Ward 3 candidate Eldon Stephens was involuntarily terminated from his employment with the city last August, but later was permitted to submit a retroactive letter of resignation after a union-brokered settlement with the city, records show.

The city provided the records of Stephens’ termination and settlement in response to an Oklahoma Open Records Act request filed by the News & Eagle. The request was made as part of News & Eagle background checks on candidates for the upcoming Enid City Commission election. Stephens was the only candidate to have been a paid employee for the city of Enid.

PDF: Police reports, termination, settlement agreement, Benson memo

According to city records, Stephens was hired in June 1989 and remained a city employee until his termination on Aug. 16, 2012.

Stephens worked as a heavy-equipment operator at an hourly wage of $19.04 before his termination last August, records show.

City records indicate the termination was involuntary, pursuant to disciplinary action taken after an accident involving a city vehicle.

According to an Enid Police Department traffic collision report, Stephens was driving an International model 1754 truck south in the 1400 block of South 10th on July 27, 2012. Riding with Stephens was an inmate “assigned to work for the city of Enid in a pre-release capacity,” according to city records.

According to the EPD report, Stephens told officers he drove off the right side of the road while attempting to avoid oncoming traffic, that he tried to turn back onto the road, but “was unable to, when the truck flipped.”

The truck rolled three-quarters of a revolution, coming to rest on the driver’s side in the ditch, according to the report.

EPD Officer Brian Schwarzkopf described the accident in his report.

“From what the accident scene was showing of what the truck did and had happened, I concluded that the truck had almost fully driven off of the west side of the road into the ditch, and the truck was either driving over the posted speed limit of South 10th, or the driver of the truck was not paying attention to how or where he was driving,” Schwarzkopf wrote. “From what the accident scene showed, if the driver would have stopped the truck in the ditch, the truck would not have rolled over.”

Schwarzkopf also noted in his report witnesses at the scene did not see any other vehicles on the road at the time of the accident.

The EPD report does not list any citations issued in the accident, but does list “Inattention — other” as an “unsafe/unlawful contributing factor.”

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