A North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper was killed after his cop brother accidentally crashed into his cruiser during a traffic stop in Rutherford County on Monday night, authorities said. North Carolina State Trooper John Horton was killed after his brother, Trooper James Horton, crashed into John's parked cruiser, sending it flying into James and driver Dusty Luke Beck, 26.
The motorcyclist who had been pulled over by John also died in the collision. John was a 15-year-old veteran cop and had asked for help from James when the accident happened. The tragic incident has left the police department and the Horton family devastated.
John had pulled over a father-of-three, who was on a motorcycle, for undisclosed reasons. James, who is also known as Nick, was coming in to assist his brother around 9 pm when the accident happened. While nearing the scene of the traffic stop on High Shoals Church Road, James lost control of his vehicle and slammed into his brother's patrol vehicle.
He then hit his brother and the motorcyclist who had been stopped and detained as they stood on the side of the road, Knox said. The impact of the collision was so much that it sent the cruiser flying into James and the motorcyclist.
John was severely injured and was immediately transported to a local hospital. However, he died from his injuries there. The motorcyclist, Beck, was pronounced dead at the scene. James suffered minor injuries in the accident and is recovering.
"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 them with our thoughts, prayers and unwavering support."
James Lovelace heard the crash outside of his home and saw state trooper patrol cars. He went to try and help and realized he knew both troopers.
"He's one of the greatest men I ever met," Lovelace said. "Just praying for you buddy. Just know God's got this under control."
The State Bureau of Investigation is probing the cause of the accident and deaths. The tragedy has left both the police department and community members, who remembers Horton as a "friendly guy", devastated.
"It has been pretty somber," Tommy Baldwin, a friend of Horton and the owner of Earl's Short Stop Inc told WBTV. "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."
Some said John's dedication is the reason why his younger brother became a trooper too. Then this happened.