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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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    CBPD607

    about 3 years ago

    264 Comments

    RIP brother

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    osu

    about 3 years ago

    26 Comments

    OFC.WILLINGHAM MY FAMILY WISH TO SEND OUR DEAPEST REGARDS TO U AND UR FAMILY, I KNOW U LOVED WHAT U DID FOR UR FAMILY AND OTHERS, I AM ON THE JOB AS WELL AND HOPE THAT I CAN BE REMEMBERED WELL AS U. ALL OF US IN THE FIELD HOPE WE CAN GO HOME EVERY NIGHT BUT NOT ALL IS SO, I WILL BE THINKING OF U AND UR FAMILY FOR DAYS TO COME.I WILL REMIND PEOPLE OF WHAT HAPPENED TO U ALL WEEKEND WHEN I HAVE CONTACTS WITH THEM. PEACE BE WITH U AND YOUR FAMILY. CHIP,JODY, SHAY. LIGONIER TOWNSHIP POLICE DEPARTMENT.

  • Thm_phppmgong_max50

    brdkey

    about 3 years ago

    22 Comments

    RIP Officer Willingham. That is crazy I used to live 30 minutes from Winston Salem. God Bless the family.

  • Sspx0013_-resized_max50

    1good1bad1ugly

    about 3 years ago

    2744 Comments

    Just heart-wrenching. My sincerest condolences to both the immediate family and to his department family. And for the dispatch center.....you did all you could do. God bless you.

  • Laura___mom_at_pittsburgh_max50

    peeler2b21

    about 3 years ago

    84 Comments

    That is so sad To hear! Stay safe and drive safe out there please everyone.

  • Sunset_max50

    cricket12345

    about 3 years ago

    74 Comments

    RIP Officer Willingham. My heart and prayers goes out to your family, and your family in blue

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 3 years ago

    Horrible way to go...Lord have mercy!
    Praying for our brother's family and colleagues.
    Det. Sgt. M.C. Williams
    Chaplain/Director, www.TheCenturionLawEnforcementMinistry.org

  • Officer_2520down_2520cop_max50

    Bryan33

    about 3 years ago

    206 Comments

    My thoughts are with his family and co workers.. Very sad...

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Bnshape

    about 3 years ago

    662 Comments

    Very tragic indeed....
    GODSPEED to your family and friends
    my brother from another mother.
    RIP Ofc Willingham.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    kimber4155

    about 3 years ago

    616 Comments

    Such a tragic event, REST IN PEACE brother. Thoughts and prayers go out to you, your family and all your friends

  • Picture_048_max50

    starw42

    about 3 years ago

    16 Comments

    oh my god its so sad

  • Police_car_max50

    kclark1206

    about 3 years ago

    80 Comments

    Go with God my brother!!!!

  • Dusty_vp_max50

    JTaylor76

    about 3 years ago

    110 Comments

    Dear Lord Be With Him and Keep Him...Offer Strength and Support to His Family and Help Them Through This Horrible Tragedy..

  • Thi_seal_max50

    mpd_943

    about 3 years ago

    2486 Comments

    Rest in Peace Brother, We have the Watch!

  • Tlusa_max50

    rsmith6322

    about 3 years ago

    1088 Comments

    Bump batman2944...sad story, RIP brother.

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