A search for a missing Page County man concluded Thursday, Sept. 10, when the Page County Sheriff’s Office was able to confirm Donald Eugene (Gene) Ripley died in a single vehicle accident in Oklahoma.
Ripley had last been seen in the early morning hours of Thursday, Sept. 3, when he left his son’s residence in Uvalde, Texas, to return to Page County. When Ripley did not arrive as expected, a Silver Alert was issued and he was entered nationwide as a missing person.
The Page County Sheriff’s Office was notified by law enforcement officials of the motor vehicle accident during the afternoon hours of Sept. 10. The accident occurred between the 46 and 47 mile markers of I-35 in Oklahoma. This is just south of Davis, Okla.
The accident was a single vehicle accident involving a red Chrysler Town and Country Minivan, with Iowa license plate number HVM-886. This is the vehicle that Ripley was driving when he was last seen leaving Uvalde, Texas.
Officials with the Page County Sheriff’s Office made contact with an Oklahoma State Trooper at the scene of the accident shortly after being notified of the accident. The Oklahoma State Trooper told the Page County Sheriff’s Office the red Chrysler Town and Country Minivan had exited I-35 between the 46 and 47 mile markers, traveled down a steep ditch approximately 100 to 150 feet into a group of trees. The minivan then struck one of the trees coming to rest. The Oklahoma Trooper then verified that there was one elderly male deceased in the vehicle. The Trooper identified the deceased male as Ripley.
The Trooper said notification of the family could be made. Death notification was made with the family given time to notify other family members prior to any release of information to the press from the Page County Sheriff’s Office.
During the missing person search the Page County Sheriff’s Office and PAGECOMM dispatch center worked closely with several agencies following up on leads that came in to law enforcement agencies as well as agencies along the possible route Ripley would have travelled from his son’s residence in Uvalde, Texas, to his residence in Page County. The agencies and information sites were the Texas Rangers, Texas Silver Alert Program, Texas Fusion Center, Denton County Texas Sheriff’s Office, Texas Highway patrol, Como County Texas Sheriff’s Office, Spring Branch Texas Police Department, Bulverde Texas Police Department, Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office, Oklahoma State Patrol, Oklahoma Fusion Center, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, Kansas State Patrol, Kansas Fusion Center, Kansas Turnpike Authority, Clinton County Missouri Sheriff’s Office, United States Border Patrol, National Missing & Unidentified Persons system (NamUs), and the Missing Persons Cases Network.
The accident remains under investigation by the Oklahoma State Troopers.
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