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Hero Down: Smith County Deputy Lorenzo Bustos Killed By Impaired Driver On Final Night Of Field Training

Smith County, TX – Smith County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) Deputy Lorenzo Bustos died in the line of duty early Friday morning after an alleged drunk driver crashed into him as he was conducting a traffic stop.

The 29-year-old deputy was in the midst of his final night of field training when the fatal crash occurred, KVVU reported.

Deputy Bustos and his field training officer, 39-year-old SCSO Deputy Michael Skinner, stopped a vehicle in the 14000-block of State Highway 155 South at approximately 11:50 p.m. on July 28, according to WCAV.

The deputies had the emergency lights of their patrol vehicle activated and had placed two handcuffed suspects in the back seat of the patrol unit, Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith said.

Deputy Bustos was standing several feet behind the patrol car and Deputy Skinner was operating the vehicle’s on-board computer and radio system from the front passenger seat when a vehicle approached them at “very moderate to fast speed” at approximately 12:15 a.m., Sheriff Smith said.

The driver slammed into Deputy Bustos, who was “launched under the patrol unit” by the force of the impact, the sheriff told WCAV.

Deputy Skinner pulled his injured trainee out from beneath the car and discovered he had suffered severe head trauma as a result of the crash, according to investigators.

Deputy Bustos was flown to a hospital in Tyler, where he was pronounced dead in the intensive care unit at approximately 6 a.m., WCAV reported.

Deputy Skinner was also treated at a local hospital for injuries and has since been released to recover at home.

The suspect behind the wheel of the vehicle that struck the young deputy has been identified as 21-year-old Daniel Nyabuto, according to the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

Sheriff Smith said Nyabuto will be charged with intoxication manslaughter.

He was being held at the Gregg County Detention Center on a $750,000 bond, according to WCAV.

Nyabuto’s unidentified passenger was charged with public intoxication.

Deputy Bustos served with the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) and the Henderson County Police Department (HCPD) prior to joining the SCSO approximately five months ago, the Tyler Morning Telegraph reported.

“He became very loved by his cohorts and he was doing a great job,” Sheriff Smith said, according to WCAV.

Deputy Bustos leaves behind his wife, as well as his three children, ages four, five, and eight.

He is also survived by his parents and siblings, Sheriff Smith said in a Facebook post on Friday.

“We’ll do everything we can to take care of them,” Sheriff Smith said. “Pretty much all we can do is go to the Lord in prayer at this time.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered flags be lowered to half-staff in Deputy Bustos’ honor, WCAV reported.

“The first lady and I extend our prayers of comfort to the Bustos family during their time of grief, and we urge all Texans to remember and honor Deputy Bustos’ service as a brave and dedicated law enforcement officer,” Abbott said.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Smith County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Lorenzo Bustos, 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.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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