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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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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    alexk12004

    almost 3 years ago

    166 Comments

    Sorry you had to go out like this. Rest in peace brother.

  • 582602_3283682777720_334551836_n_max50

    LanaNJ

    almost 3 years ago

    6948 Comments

    Very Sad. Rip Officer Russel Willingham.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50

    Whalewatcher

    almost 3 years ago

    11194 Comments

    Rest in peace, Officer Willingham.

  • Image_max50

    TxCop1485

    almost 3 years ago

    250 Comments

    RIP Officer Willingham. God bless those left behind.

  • Uniphone1_max50

    batman2944

    almost 3 years ago

    738 Comments

    I wonder why the writer refers to the officer and chief as "Mr. Willingham" and "Mr. Cunningham"...(?) Anyway, what a tragic event. Thank you sir for your service and aptness to join the fight! Rest in Peace, and God Bless!

    "Train for the Fight"

  • Th_detective_max50

    Retleo

    almost 3 years ago

    5524 Comments

    RIP Brother

  • 309

    Hbryant188

    almost 3 years ago

    594 Comments

    RIP

  • 19jyucm2tzgez_max50

    vegas94

    almost 3 years ago

    90 Comments

    RIP

  • Nag_max50

    bsears

    about 3 years ago

    9586 Comments

    RIP

  • 100_0325_max50

    ArmyMP

    about 3 years ago

    1052 Comments

    RIP Brother, that is no way to go.

  • Lu_lu_max50

    LALLAIN

    about 3 years ago

    106 Comments

    RIP

  • Ralphie_max50

    rafaelmorales

    about 3 years ago

    2994 Comments

    My GOD...RIP brother

  • Eod_max50

    EOD300

    about 3 years ago

    2278 Comments

    Rest In Peace; Brother...

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 3 years ago

    RIP

  • 12235_sq90_max50

    chiefkcr

    about 3 years ago

    3614 Comments

    RIP My Brother we have the watch now. GOD be with you and yours.

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