Firefighter dies in wreck, town mourns - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Firefighter dies in wreck, town mourns

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TAYLORSVILLE, NC (WBTV) -

"This is tough to take," said Firefighter Justin Deal at the Taylorsville Fire Department on Wednesday.

Less than 24 hours before, on Highway 90 just a few miles away, Justin's longtime friend and fellow firefighter William Shook was killed in a head-on collision.

Shook was heading west on the highway in his personal pickup truck when he drifted into the oncoming lane and hit a dump truck. His vehicle was crushed beyond recognition and Shook died at the scene.

Officials said Shook was not responding to an emergency and was off-duty at the time. "

Willy was such a good man," said Chief Matt Jordan.

At the Fire Station Wednesday, flags were lowered and a somber mood filled the station house. Even so, firefighters would crack a smile as they talked of their longtime friend.

"His laughter was always contagious" said one firefighter.

Shook joined the department 23 years ago and had risen to the rank of Lieutenant.

"Even when he was off duty he would do what he could to help anyone in need," said Jordan.

Officials say the sadness the entire town feels will not go away anytime soon. 

"It is just like losing a members of the family," said Deal.

As for the accident, the Highway Patrol is still investigating. They don't know why Shook drifted into the other lane and hit the dump truck head-on. The driver of the truck was shaken up but not seriously hurt.

Shook leaves behind a wife and a 5 year old daughter. Arrangements are incomplete.

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