RUTHERFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) – A North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper has died after his brother, also a trooper, crashed into him during a traffic stop Monday night in Rutherford County, officials said.
According to the highway patrol, Trooper John Horton was conducting a traffic stop at High Shoals Church Road and Goodes Grove Church Road shortly before 9 p.m.
Trooper James Horton was responding to assist when he lost control of his vehicle and collided with the stationary patrol vehicle and subsequently struck Trooper John Horton and the detained drive who was standing alongside the road, officials said.
Trooper John Horton, a 15-year veteran assigned to Rutherford County, was taken to a Spartanburg hospital where he died of his injuries, according to the NCSHP. The detained driver, identified as Dusty Luke Beck, according to NC Gov. Roy Cooper, was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.
According to the NCSHP, Trooper James Horton was taken to a local hospital for minor injuries and has since been released. The two troopers are brothers, authorities said.
By midday on Tuesday, flowers and a cross had been placed at the crash site. Friends of Trooper Horton expressed their grief over his passing.
“He was always friendly, he would speak to everybody in here and uh, he was just one of the guys that when you came in, you were glad to see him…he would just brighten your morning just a little bit, that’s the way he always came across to me,” said Tommy Baldwin, a friend of Horton’s and the owner of Earl’s Short Stop. “It’s been pretty somber. It has. Normally, you know, people coming in and out are always laughing and joking. It’s not quite that right now. Everybody is upset. People that knew him and people that didn’t know him.”
“Our hearts are broken with the loss of our friend and our brother, Trooper John Horton” said Colonel Freddy L. Johnson Jr., commander of the State Highway Patrol. “For all involved in this tragic event the coming days will undoubtedly be difficult, but we are committed to stand alongside with them with our thoughts, prayers and unwavering support.”
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