State Hwy Patrol mourns loss of intern, ECU student following fatal crash


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) The State Highway Patrol is mourning the loss of a SHP college intern who was killed in a single vehicle collision on Saturday in Pitt County.

At approximately 12:53 a.m., a state trooper was attempting to overtake a suspected impaired driver on Smithtown Rd when the trooper lost control of his vehicle in a curve. The patrol vehicle traveled off the roadway onto the shoulder, striking a utility pole and two large trees. 

As a result of the crash, a passenger in the patrol vehicle identified as Mr. Michael Steven Higgins, 22, of Hertford, succumbed to his injuries at the scene. Mr. Higgins, a senior at East Carolina University, was participating in the Highway Patrol’s college internship program while working on a major in criminal justice.

“My heart breaks for everyone touched by this extremely tragic situation,” said Colonel Glenn M. McNeill, Jr., commander of the State Highway Patrol. “Our college interns are a part of the Patrol family and we are in mourning as we have lost one of our own beloved members. I extend my sincerest condolences to the Higgins family, to the faculty and students of East Carolina University and to anyone who had the privileged opportunity to know Michael.”

Trooper Omar Romero, a two-year veteran assigned to Pitt County (Troop A, District 5) was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The SHP’s Internal Affairs Unit and Reconstruction Unit are completing both internal and criminal independent investigations which is agency protocol anytime a trooper is involved in a fatal collision.

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