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Hero Down: North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper John Horton Dies After Fellow Trooper Crashes Into Him

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 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.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


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