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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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  • 70748_max50

    Stealth4387

    over 2 years ago

    188 Comments

    Tragic, Rest in Peace Brother

  • 21_max50

    philfroggy

    over 2 years ago

    1564 Comments

    Rest in peace Brother, The family and department are in my prayers

  • Car_004_max50

    copper380

    over 2 years ago

    2026 Comments

    God Bless Your Soul Brother, Rest In Peace. Lord Bless the Family and Friends of our Fallen Brother.

  • Meangreen01_max50

    AZmeangreen

    over 2 years ago

    2338 Comments

    Rest in peace brother.

  • Sspx0013_-resized_max50

    1good1bad1ugly

    over 2 years ago

    2770 Comments

    How tragic. Condolences to all the families, both immediate and blue.

  • Me__mr

    cgingo

    over 2 years ago

    21848 Comments

    Prayers to Officer Willingham and his family.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 2 years ago

    Couldn't get any worse!!! RIP Brother!!!

  • New_picture__1__max50

    HDSB191

    over 2 years ago

    750 Comments

    This is as bad as it gets, Gods Speed Brother

  • Me_aloof_1_max50

    lilweir09

    over 2 years ago

    126 Comments

    So tragic.. My prayers are with the family, friends, and co-workers of Officer Willingham. Rest in Peace Brother, your duty here is done - God needs you to walk his beat now!

  • Steve_mcqueen_max50

    ilegworldchamp

    over 2 years ago

    8966 Comments

    Both Massachusetts and North Carolina lost a Centurion this day . May God watch over your Family Sir. Officer Russell Willingham please take your rightful place among the multitude of Hero's who now walk the patrol of Heaven with our Saviour Jesus Christ .

  • Me_and_mish_max50

    larrydallaspoling

    over 2 years ago

    28 Comments

    this is just too terrible for words.

  • Img00033-20091202-1845_1__max50

    smkedvr73

    over 2 years ago

    124 Comments

    God Bless his family, Rest In Peace to a brother still on patrol.

  • World_trade_center_max50

    brockwaymj

    over 2 years ago

    134 Comments

    Wow. So sad to loose an officer in the line of duty even worse he died in such a way. God Bless RIP Brother

  • Me2_max50

    bstites

    over 2 years ago

    1028 Comments

    RIP Officer. -- This is the way the one and only deputy died in my county. Burned in his patrol car. RIP

  • Kevlar_max50

    Twisted_dispatcher

    over 2 years ago

    2160 Comments

    RIP Officer Willingham

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