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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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    dominicano_soy

    over 2 years ago

    848 Comments

    RIP my brother....God bless

  • Acc_max50

    USAF1986

    over 2 years ago

    10 Comments

    RIP and God bless

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    maxxoccupancy

    over 2 years ago

    328 Comments

    RIP. This was a tough story to read. This was a real tragedy.

  • Work_max50

    Mr_Nothumbs

    over 2 years ago

    250 Comments

    Such a tragic event, REST IN PEACE brother. Thoughts and prayers go out to you, your family and all your friends. You will not be forgotten!

  • Flags_and_stars_max50

    djs2v

    over 2 years ago

    5628 Comments

    RIP Officer Willingham

  • 01-08-09_1415_max50

    joel45acp

    over 2 years ago

    202 Comments

    Rest easy my brother. We got you covered.

  • 100_0386_max50

    Michelle_D

    over 2 years ago

    36 Comments

    my thoughts and prayers are with the family. hero's die young.

  • Image_max50

    usa_24

    over 2 years ago

    5022 Comments

    Horrible. My thoughts and prayers are with the officer and his family. God bless and rest in peace.

  • Erin_1_max50

    ESederquist

    over 2 years ago

    170 Comments

    Rest in Peace Officer Russell Willingham.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 2 years ago

    RIP Brother

  • Fallenherobadge-3-1_max50_max50

    CAZ

    over 2 years ago

    1428 Comments

    RIP Sir you will not be forgotten. Thank you for your service. My prayers go out to the family, friends, department and community. I pray the good Lord took you swiftly and you did not suffer.

  • K9-wallpaper_max50

    K9_91

    over 2 years ago

    19908 Comments

    RIP Brother

  • 1067_med_max50

    rarebit

    over 2 years ago

    98 Comments

    What a tragic situation.

  • 1393794_10151798561878138_392793313_n_max50

    Blueblood1974

    over 2 years ago

    5192 Comments

    RIP brother

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    Mrbdguard

    over 2 years ago

    4548 Comments

    Father protect us from such and end. And Please comfort his friends and family

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