Glencoe man pleads guilty to murder II in fatal collision on SH 33
By Patti Weaver
(Stillwater, Okla.) – A 27-year-old man from Glencoe, who waived his right to a jury trial, pleaded guilty this week to second degree murder in a fatal head-on collision on Highway 33 east of Perkins three years ago while driving under the influence of alcohol after a former DUI.
Tyler Forest Ryba, who disagrees with the prosecution over his sentence, has been asked in court by Associate District Judge Stephen Kistler what happened. Ryba replied, “I had an accident.” When the judge asked, “Did you drink that day? Ryba replied, “I don’t remember.”
Before accepting Ryba’s plea, the judge explained that he could sentence him to a minimum of 10 years in prison to a maximum of life. Ryba remains free on $ 10,000 bail and was ordered to return to court on September 21 when his sentencing hearing could be scheduled if a background investigation into Ryba was completed.
The victim, Karen Nelson, 59, of Stillwater, was pronounced dead at the scene of the collision at 4.59 a.m. on May 23, 2018, on Highway 33 about 350 feet east of Fairgrounds Road, two miles east of Perkins, according to a Department of Public Safety report.
Ryba was stranded for 20 to 25 minutes in his vehicle before being released by firefighters in Perkins and then transported by medical helicopter to a trauma center in Oklahoma City, according to the report.
Ryba was driving a 2010 Chevrolet Impala west on Highway 33, while Nelson was driving a 2014 Chevrolet Sonic east on Highway 33 when the collision occurred in the eastbound lane, the report said. .
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Soldier Colby Martens learned from a LifeNet EMS medical professional that “he noticed the smell of alcohol coming from Ryba and Ryba admitted to drinking.” OHP Private Matthew Ledbetter, traffic homicide investigator, said in an affidavit.
“Ryba informed (OHP Trooper Eric) Blades that he had been at a friend’s house in Cushing all night and had been drinking alcohol during that time,” the affidavit alleged.
“Ryba failed to stay in his lane and crossed the center line in a no-pass zone when he collided with the Chevrolet Sonic, killing Karen Nelson,” the affidavit said.
According to court records, three years earlier, Ryba was charged with possession of methamphetamine and driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance on Highway 51 west of Council Valley Road on July 28, 2015.
A year later, Ryba pleaded guilty to his drug charge and was placed on a five-year suspended probation with an order to comply with the methamphetamine registry, undergo random drug tests, attend a panel impact on victims, perform 50 hours of community service and pay $ 1,250 in membership fees. On his DUI count to which he pleaded guilty, Ryba was given a one-year suspended sentence and an order of $ 450 in dues, court records show.
In 2014, Ryba and two men from Stillwater were charged as co-accused in the reckless driving offense on November 29, 2013, for hunting without a license at night, discharging a gun towards a woman’s house rural Stillwater – where the bullet went through the window and landed on the floor of her bedroom while she was at home, court records show.
Ryba and the two men from Stillwater have also been charged with using the headlights of a truck to spot a white-tailed deer with the intent to help kill the deer, possessing a whitetail deer not legally captured, and hunt without a valid hunting license. On July 7, 2014, Ryba pleaded guilty to all four counts and was placed on suspended probation for terms ranging from 30 days to six months, according to court records.
Also in 2014, Ryba was charged in Pawnee County with possession of drugs and paraphernalia, as well as attempting to escape a Pawnee police officer, court records show. Ryba pleaded guilty to three counts of misdemeanor and was placed on probation for one year in 2014.