Tight-knit community in Rutherford County mourns tragic loss of NC trooper

North Carolina

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – A North Carolina trooper was hit and killed by his brother, a fellow trooper, during a traffic stop in western North Carolina Monday, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

Authorities said Trooper John Horton was parked at a traffic stop at High Shoals Church Road and Goodes Grove Church Road in Rutherford County around 8:58 p.m. Monday night.

Trooper James Horton, John’s brother, was responding to assist with the traffic stop when he lost control of his vehicle and collided with his brother’s patrol vehicle, officials said.

Trooper John Horton and the driver detained during the traffic stop were struck while standing along the side of the road.

“Somebody was doing CPR on the state trooper, but my neighbor continued CPR until the paramedics got there,” said Connie Fite, who lives near the scene of the crash.

Trooper John Horton, a fifteen-year veteran, was taken to the hospital where he died from his injuries.

The detained driver, 26-year-old Dusty Luke Beck, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officials said Trooper James Horton was taken to the hospital with minor injuries and has been released.

Both troopers were brothers, NCDPS confirmed.

“We watch out for each other around here,” said Fite.  “This has affected our whole community.  Everybody knows them.”

“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 with them with our thoughts, prayers and unwavering support.”

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the crash.

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