RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A police officer in North Carolina was killed and another officer hurt after an overnight crash on Interstate 540 near Knightdale, authorities said.
North Carolina Highway Patrol responded at 2:39 a.m. to a crash involving two police officers, who were responding to a single-vehicle crash when they were hit by an oncoming vehicle. The incident happened in the eastbound lanes near mile marker 22.
Ryan Hayworth, 23, a three-month veteran of the Knightdale force, and member of the United States Army, was killed in the collision, Police Chief Lawrence Capps confirmed.
Hayworth’s training officer, Cody Hagler, was also seriously injured in the incident and is currently being treated at WakeMed for non-life-threatening injuries.
“Ryan’s loss in an indescribable tragedy for our department and our community,” Chief Capps said. “The pain of his death felt the most by his family, friends, and those who knew him best. As we began the process of healing, we ask that you join us in a season of prayer for all of those who have been forever touched by this heartbreaking event.”
Hayworth was sworn into Knightdale Police Department on July 21. He was a long-time resident of the area and graduated from East Wake Academy.
CBS 17’s Joseph Holloway has learned that one of the police vehicles caught fire in the crash. At approximately 8:45 a.m., Knightdale firefighters arrived on-scene.
Additionally, two other people are also at the hospital.
The motorist involved in the initial crash was also seriously injured, as was the driver whose vehicle hit the officers.
Alcohol is believed to be a factor for the driver who hit the officers, and charges are pending, a Knightdale press release said.
The road is closed at exit 20, Buffalo Road, and drivers are asked to avoid the area. The scene is still active and under investigation. Highway Patrol said they hope to have the lanes reopened by noon.
If you have to travel near this exit, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is suggesting drivers take exit 18 to US 401 South and follow that road to the on-ramp for I-440 east.
After taking the ramp, drivers can follow I-440 for I-87 North/US-64 East/US-264 East at exit 14. Take exit 14 to I-87 North/US-64 East/US-264 East, follow I-87 North/US-64 East/US-264 East to exit 7 (I-540) and take exit 7 to re-access I-540.
Furthermore, CBS 17’s Mackenzie Stasko has confirmed Hayworth’s father, Tim, is the former Zebulon Police Chief.