Rutherford County, NC – North Carolina Highway Patrol (NCHP) Trooper John Horton died in the line of duty Monday night after being struck by his brother’s patrol vehicle during a traffic stop.
The fatal collision occurred shortly before 9 p.m. on Jan. 3 near the intersection of Goodes Grove Church Road and High Shoals Church Road southeast of Asheville, The Charlotte Observer reported.
Trooper John Horton, a 15-year NCHP veteran assigned to Rutherford County, had already detained the driver and was standing on the side of the road with him when his brother, NCHP Trooper James Horton, responded to the scene to assist him, according to WHNS.
As Trooper James Horton arrived at the stop, he lost control of his patrol vehicle and slammed into his brother’s parked cruiser.
“James Horton collided with the stationary patrol vehicle and subsequently struck Trooper John Horton and the detained driver who were standing along the roadside,” the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NCDPS) said in a statement to The Charlotte Observer.
The detained driver was pronounced dead at the scene.
Trooper John Horton was rushed to a hospital in Spartanburg, where he succumbed to his injuries, The Charlotte Observer reported.
“Trooper James Horton was taken to a local hospital for minor injuries and has since been released,” state officials said.
They confirmed the two troopers are brothers.
The fatal collision occurred after a day of sleet, snow, and rapidly-plummeting temperatures in the mountains, The Charlotte Observer reported.
The exact cause of the crash remains under investigation.
The NCHP Collision Reconstruction Unit and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation are handling the ongoing investigation, WHNS reported.
“Our hearts are broken with the loss of our friend and our brother, Trooper John Horton,” NCHP Commander Colonel Freddy Johnson said in a press release, according to The Charlotte Observer.
“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,” Col. Johnson added.
Trooper John Horton leaves behind six children, according to WCNC.
A fundraising campaign established to help his family in the wake of their loss has raised over $2,000 so far.
Our heartfelt condolences to the family, both blood and blue, of NCSHP Trooper John Horton who was killed last night while on a traffic stop. We honor all Trooper Horton accomplished while wearing the badge, and we mourn the loss of a brother dedicated to serving and protecting. pic.twitter.com/GbbsHtDQ12
— Forsyth Co Sheriff’s Office NC (@gofcsonc) January 4, 2022
The scene at High Shoals Church Rd and Goodes Grove Church Rd in Mooresboro, after a NC Highway State Trooper was killed by own brother in traffic accident. pic.twitter.com/yB3FCPoY9v
— 𝗕𝗿𝗶𝗮𝗻 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗮𝗻𝘀𝗲𝗻 (@BrianFox46) January 4, 2022
MCSO sends our deepest condolences to the family of NC Trooper John Horton who was killed last night during a traffic stop. Our thoughts and prayers are with the @NCSHP Trooper Horton died in the line of duty and will be remembered for his life of service. pic.twitter.com/gS56s1muBI
— Meck Sheriff (@MeckSheriff) January 4, 2022
— FBI Charlotte (@FBICharlotte) January 4, 2022
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper John Horton, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.