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Tragic: Officer Trapped In Burning Cruiser Dies

Tragic: Officer Trapped In Burning Cruiser Dies

The Daily Mail via YellowBrix

August 01, 2011

WINSTON-SALEM, NC – A North Carolina police officer frantically called for help as he lay trapped in his burning patrol car after losing control as he drove to help a fellow officer who was following a possible drunken driver, it has been revealed.

Russell Willingham, 28, radioed for assistance after he crashed into a tree in Winston-Salem early yesterday morning and told operators that he was stuck inside his car.

Shortly afterwards, he made a final call to tell dispatchers that his patrol car had caught on fire. By the time rescuers arrived at the scene, the car was engulfed in flames.

Police said that Mr Willingham died at the scene. His car went off the road and down an embankment at around 3:15am.

‘Officer Willingham was able to call and advise that he was pinned in the vehicle,’ police chief Scott Cunningham said.

’Police and other emergency services had some difficulty in locating Officer Willingham at first due to him being completely off the road and not visible from the roadway, he said.

‘After all the years, I still cannot find the words to tell the family that I am so sorry.’

Mr Cunningham said that Mr Willingham was heading to assist a fellow officer after a suspected drunk driver nearly hit another vehicle.

Police are investigating how the accident happened. It is not known why Mr Willingham lost control of the car.

Mr Willingham, who is originally from Massachusetts and leaves behind a wife, joined the police department in August 2009.

Before that, he worked in the Greensboro police department for two years. Flags have been lowered to half-staff at the police station.

‘I do ask that the community remember him, especially his family, and the rest of the Winston-Salem Police Department in their prayers during this very trying time,’ Mr Cunningham said.


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  • Metroguard_emblem_max50

    patchez

    11 months ago

    7454 Comments

    RIP. I just can't find the words..God Bless

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Super_Bee

    about 2 years ago

    6 Comments

    awful.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 2 years ago

    Rest In Peace Brother, God Bless You

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50

    rhood

    over 2 years ago

    23592 Comments

    Rest In Peace Officer Willingham.

  • 101227-120643_max50

    2386

    over 2 years ago

    248 Comments

    REST IN PEACE

  • Me_last_wk_max50

    delano388

    over 2 years ago

    4318 Comments

    RIP Brother

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 2 years ago

    May Heavenly Father have mercy on his soul. My he Bless this brave officers wife and family. My He provide comfort to Officer Willingham agency. RIP our Brither.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    maharba03

    over 2 years ago

    16 Comments

    May he rest in peace and God bless his family. Very Tragic.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 2 years ago

    Rest in peace brother. God bless you and your family..

  • 2011_range_day_2-19-10_max50

    USLawman1983

    over 2 years ago

    1572 Comments

    We lost a deputy in my agency in a similar situation so this hits home. God bless Officer Willingham and his family and friends. The agency will be greatly affected as well.

  • Respect_max50

    oldtimer322

    over 2 years ago

    360 Comments

    Can you believe that, on one of the local media sites, the posters were complaining that Officer Willingham's funeral procession was a waste of tax payer monies, and that since 9/11, police and firefighters were "demanding" such processions and media coverage, to put them in a higher class than the regular citizen?

  • Respect_max50

    oldtimer322

    over 2 years ago

    360 Comments

    RIP Brother....

  • Me_last_wk_max50

    delano388

    over 2 years ago

    4318 Comments

    RIP Brother

  • Gods_team_max50

    IowaNinersFan

    over 2 years ago

    15076 Comments

    RIP Officer Willingham. May God watches over your wife, family and friends during this time of sadness.

  • Fto_davidson_photo_max50

    BlueKnight4023

    over 2 years ago

    824 Comments

    May god bless you and your wife! Rest in peace brother!

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