YADKIN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A North Carolina state trooper was killed on duty after a chase ended in a crash in Yadkin County Monday night.
According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, 24-year-old Samuel Newton Bullard was killed in a crash on Interstate 77 in Yadkin County.
The NCDPS states that several troopers, including Bullard, were conducting a checkpoint on Interstate 77 in Surry County when the driver of a black BMW failed to stop. The driver then reportedly fled from the troopers shortly before 11 p.m.
Troopers then began to chase the driver until they reached I-77 south, which headed into Yadkin County.
A second Surry County trooper, who was involved in the chase, could no longer see Bullard's vehicle behind him while he was chasing the suspected driver., according to the NCDPS. The trooper then tried to reach Bullard using in-car communications but did not receive a response.
That's when the trooper "discontinued the pursuit" and headed back to I-77 north, according to the NCDPS. Officials say that same trooper then found Bullard's vehicle a short time later.
Bullard's patrol vehicle had been involved in a crash near mile marker 80, the NCDPS said. Trooper Bullard died at the scene, officials say. He had been a three-year veteran with Surry County.
According to the Charlotte Observer and TV station WXII, Bullard was engaged and was set to marry in August. The trooper's tux was fitted, the wedding cake had been ordered and his fiancée already had her wedding dress, WXII reported.
Col. Glenn M. McNeillJr., who is the commander of the State Highway Patrol, released this statement Tuesday morning:
Gov. Roy Cooper tweeted about Bullard's death Tuesday, saying the trooper died while bravely protecting and serving. "Our prayers are with his family and friends after this tragedy."
Erik Hooks, who is the secretary of the NCDPS, said his prayers were with Bullard's family.
"With great sadness, we acknowledge the line of duty death of State Highway Patrol Trooper Bullard," Hooks said. "My prayers are with Trooper Bullard's family and our State Highway Patrol family. Our law enforcement professionals face dangers daily in carrying out the mission to protect our communities. Throughout the department, we mourn the loss of our fallen comrade."
Highway Patrol said they were working with allied agencies to search for the people involved.