Oklahoma Judge Arrested in East Austin Faces Charges of Reckless Driving and Discharging Firearm

AUSTIN — On September 11, a judge hailing from Oklahoma found himself in legal trouble after being arrested in east Austin. The charges brought against Judge Brian Lovell, who resides in Waukomis, Oklahoma and serves at the Garfield County Courthouse in Enid, include reckless driving and deadly conduct related to discharging a firearm. Notably, the incident unfolded nearly 500 miles away from Lovell's Oklahoma residence, raising questions about his presence in Austin.

According to details outlined in the arrest affidavit, Lovell allegedly fired shots into multiple vehicles at the intersection of Matamoros Street and Santa Maria Street. Several vehicles were struck during the incident, with witnesses on the scene reporting a man in a white SUV fleeing the area.

Subsequently, Austin Police Department (APD) received a second call regarding a road rage crash, occurring nearly two miles from the initial incident, near the intersection of East Seventh Street and North Interstate Highway 35 Service Road. Court documents indicate that Lovell forcefully rear-ended a woman's car with his white SUV. An altercation ensued between the two parties, and the affidavit states that Lovell "intentionally" struck the woman's car a second time while attempting to push her vehicle into oncoming traffic.

During a search of Lovell's SUV, APD discovered a firearm and a magazine. When questioned by officers, the judge reportedly expressed uncertainty about why he would have discharged his weapon and claimed to have no recollection of the shooting incident.

Lovell had been serving as a special district judge in Garfield County, Oklahoma since January 2011 and was elevated to the position of associate district judge in January 2023. Judge Paul Woodward, a long-time colleague of Lovell, expressed a desire to gather all relevant facts before offering further commentary but noted that he held a substantial amount of respect for Lovell. Woodward clarified that Lovell had not presided over any cases since the incident.

Ultimately, any disciplinary actions taken against Lovell will fall under the jurisdiction of the Oklahoma State Supreme Court.