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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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  • Police_link_badge_max50

    HEYSARGE

    about 3 years ago

    16726 Comments

    RIP

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    MACK2014

    about 3 years ago

    168 Comments

    we'll see you later brother .......R.I.P.

  • Cpusey-001_max50

    Chief171

    about 3 years ago

    3192 Comments

    RIP BROTHER.

  • Caduceus_max50

    headbrer

    about 3 years ago

    5490 Comments

    How horrible. A terrible way to die. RIP Officer Willingham. Condolences to his wife and family.

    Doc

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 3 years ago

    RIP, BROTHER

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 3 years ago

    =( Rest in Peace Officer Willingham!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 3 years ago

    What a terrible way to go! Rest in Eternal Peace!

  • 251351_2130232132748_1154332396_32671999_4273354_n_max50

    Bookem8

    about 3 years ago

    260 Comments

    Rest In Peace Officer Willingham...Thoughts and Prayers to the family and department family he leaves behind!!! I cant even begin to imagine how they are dealing with the circumstances of this loss!!! God Bless the dispatchers who heard his final call!!!!

  • John_groh_max50

    wiseass0282

    about 3 years ago

    10982 Comments

    RIP Brother, my thoughts and prayers go out to you, your family and your co workers. You will always be remembered.

  • Policememorial---a_max50

    Collegecop_WA

    about 3 years ago

    2380 Comments

    Rest in peace Officer Willingham, may God welcome you home with open arms and may He comfort the loved ones you leave behind.

  • 66880303_max50

    boyblu06

    about 3 years ago

    20 Comments

    R.I.P

  • Cops4christ_max50

    SpencerStangz

    about 3 years ago

    422 Comments

    R.I.P. Officer Willingham...

    BUMP Top_Cat

  • White_shirt_max50

    uncledennis1

    about 3 years ago

    23314 Comments

    R.I.P. Brother. What a painful death. May God watch over him, family and brothers and sisters at his agency.

  • Img_20111016_163737_max50

    DDemlong

    about 3 years ago

    2238 Comments

    Very sad, it sounds like he otherwise could have survived if not for the fire. RIP brother

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50

    Irishcop1961

    about 3 years ago

    50922 Comments

    Rest in Peace Officer Willingham. Thank you for your service.

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