A Piedmont man was not trying to evade authorities after a warrant on two counts of second-degree murder was issued last week, his attorney said. He was seeking medical treatment in Tulsa.
Oklahoma City attorney Scott Adams made his comments during a hearing Tuesday seeking bail for his client, David Christopher Cochlin.
Cochlin, 48, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder as well as an alternate of two counts of first-degree manslaughter.
He turned himself into authorities Saturday afternoon, two days after an arrest warrant was issued.
No bond was set in his case at the time. Tuesday, District Judge Paul Hesse ordered that he remain in jail until his trial, saying that he posed a danger to the community.
Cochlin, who owns a telecommunications business in Moore, is accused of being under the influence of drugs and alcohol the night of Dec. 15 when his 2017 Mercedes slammed into the rear of a Ford Ranger carrying Sean Matthew Tucker and Luke Cooper Ross.
The two 19-year-old Yukon men died in the crash after both their vehicle and the Mercedes that Cochlin allegedly was driving burst into flames.
According to testimony given Tuesday, Cochlin was pulled from the driver’s seat of the Mercedes by firefighters. He was taken to the University of Oklahoma Medical Center, where blood tests indicated he had a blood-alcohol level of .208 and tested positive for narcotics, including oxycodone and Oxymorphone.
An arrest warrant was issued Thursday by Hesse. Officers testified that they tried to locate Cochlin that afternoon, but were unsuccessful.
They also made contact with Cochlin’s girlfriend, and shortly thereafter, Cochlin’s phone was turned off.
When officers “pinged” his phone, it indicated that he was in Tulsa.
Cochlin returned to his home Saturday.
When officers arrived, they found a vehicle registered to Cochlin parked in the driveway. Inside, they found business papers linking Cochlin to the vehicle as well as an empty vodka bottle in a rear seat next to a child’s car seat, said Staff Sgt. David Roberts, of the Oklahoma City Police Department.
Cochlin was not at the house at the time, the officer said.
Cochlin turned himself in later that same day.
However, the fact that he was unreachable creates cause for concern, said Assistant District Attorney Eric Epplin.
He also pointed to the empty vodka bottle as another worrisome issue.
“He’s a flight risk and a danger to the community,” Epplin said.
Adams, however, pointed out that Cochlin has ties to the community through not only his company, which has 18 employees, but also because his family lives in Oklahoma.
He also said Cochlin had an agreement with the district attorney to turn himself in once charges were filed. However, he wasn’t given that opportunity before police began searching for him.
“My client had been out of town for three or four days. … He was going to the doctor in Tulsa,” he said.
Cochlin appeared in court in an orange and white jumpsuit. He also had bandages covering burns to his face and head. He also had a cast on his right arm.
“This is a serious crime. It’s an awful crime. We have to deal with it,” Adams admitted.
According to court records, the accident occurred just after 11 p.m. Dec. 15 at the intersection of Mustang Road and NW 150.
Documents show that Cochlin’s vehicle was traveling 149 mph just seconds before it hit the pickup.
The pickup, at the time, had just pulled from a stop sign when Cochlin’s car rear-ended it. It was going 106 mph, Master Sgt. Mark Sexton testified.
Sexton testified that officers learned that Cochlin, earlier in the evening, had been at an Oklahoma City restaurant, where his receipt indicated that he had consumed vodka and rang up a bill totaling $242. There also was an unopened bottle of vodka in the back seat of the Mercedes.
Sexton also said that a check of Cochlin’s driving record indicated he had two previous arrests for driving under the influence — one in 2002 and another in 2009. However, he did not have any convictions.
Cochlin could face up to life in prison if convicted.