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Hero Down: McAlester Police Officer Joseph Barlow Killed By Reckless Driver Who Smashed Into Funeral Procession

Tulsa, OK – McAlester Police Department (MPD) Officer Joseph Barlow died in the line of duty on Monday due to injuries he suffered in a crash while participating in a funeral procession for a fellow officer several days prior.

The collision occurred as officers were escorting the body of fallen MPD Captain Richard Parker from Tulsa to Wetumka on March 17, KOKI reported.

Capt. Parker died unexpectedly on March 16 after serving the MPD for nearly 26 years, the department said in a press release.

The procession was traveling on Highway 75 in Glenpool when a pickup truck crossed over the center median and slammed into Officer Barlow’s patrol vehicle head-on, according to KOCO.

The driver of the pickup has been identified as 39-year-old Martin Rivas Rodriguez, KOKI reported.

Rodriguez was booked into the Tulsa County Jail on multiple charges, including no driver’s license, reckless driving, and causing an accident, according to police.

He was also placed on a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement immigration hold, KOKI reported.

Officer Barlow, 25, was rushed to a Tulsa hospital in critical condition, where he underwent multiple emergency surgeries, according to KJRH.

Community members and fellow officers came together to pray for a miracle recovery for the young officer in the days after the crash.

“This isn’t fair in all honesty,” MPD Officer Colby Barnett told KRJH. “The kid had a heart of gold and we need a miracle.”

Dozens of community members and first responders gathered on the steps of the MPD on March 18 to pray for the injured officer, KRJH reported.

The MPD announced in a press release on March 20 that Officer Barlow succumbed to his injuries earlier that day.

“It is with immense sadness that the McAlester Police Department announces the tragic loss of Patrolman Joseph Barlow,” the department said. “Unfortunately, he has succumbed to his injuries and passed Monday, March 20, 2023 surrounded by many family, friends and local law enforcement officers.”

Officer Barlow joined the MPD in August of 2021, according to his Facebook page.

In addition to his service with the MPD, he was also a U.S. Army veteran.

“Barlow served not only his nation in the United States Army, but his community of McAlester with great pride,” the MPD said. “We ask that you keep officer Barlow’s friends, family, and community in your thoughts as they grieve this great loss and continue to cope recently tragedies.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of McAlester Police Department Officer Joseph Barlow, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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