A North Carolina trooper died in a fiery crash Monday night while reportedly chasing a motorist who drove past a license checkpoint.
According to the Winston Salem-Journal, trooper Samuel Newton Bullard, 24, died while he and another trooper pursued suspect Dakota Kape Whitt, 22, who allegedly blew past a checkpoint on U.S. 21 and Ebenezer Church Road in Surry County.
Amid the chase, Highway Patrol Sgt. Chris Knox said the other trooper, P.E. Ellis, realized Bullard’s patrol car was no longer behind him, prompting Ellis to radio the missing trooper. Ellis said over the radio that he’s turning around to search for Bullard, according to the newspaper.
Moments later, Ellis is heard telling patrol headquarters, “It’s not good. Send me everything you got.”
Knox explained that Bullard was on the right side of the road when, three minutes into the chase, he crashed into a bridge support. KGHP reported that Bullard’s patrol car was engulfed in flames.
“Our SHP family is devastated by the loss of Trooper Bullard. We are struggling to find words that describe the hurting we feel right now,” State Highway Patrol Col. Glenn M. McNeill Jr. said in a statement.
“Trooper Bullard died as he was fulfilling his promise to the people of North Carolina, protecting and serving his community.”
WXII reported that police arrested Whitt at around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday. Whitt’s arrest came after authorities located the BMW he was driving and determined he was the driver. It’s not immediately known where the vehicle was found.
Charged with murder, felony fleeing to elude arrest in a motor vehicle, and driving with a revoked license, Whitt is being held without bail.
[Featured image: Samuel Newton Bullard/North Carolina Department of Public Safety]