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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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  • 1979_max50

    Robocop33

    almost 3 years ago

    14618 Comments

    I have talked with another Officer from that Dept. and they are all taking this very hard which is understandable. Rest in Peace now Officer Willingham.

  • Picture_100_max50

    crowfeeder

    almost 3 years ago

    928 Comments

    RIP Brother.

  • Esu_patch_max50

    esu

    almost 3 years ago

    498 Comments

    RIP brother,,,,

  • Airplane_max50

    rmstone

    almost 3 years ago

    5122 Comments

    Rest In Peace Officer Willingham

  • 20140214_120713-1_max50

    PRO1000

    almost 3 years ago

    958 Comments

    He was a real good Brother fellas. R.I.P

  • Nc_max50

    Charlie10

    almost 3 years ago

    732 Comments

    Rest in Peace Brother!

  • Dolphins_fantasy_max50

    dolphinblue

    almost 3 years ago

    42984 Comments

    R.I.P.

  • Andrea_and_i_max50

    corylovesandrea

    almost 3 years ago

    6226 Comments

    Rest in peace Brother. Memories of accidents similar to this one come rushing back into my memory. Thoughts and prayers go out to family, friends and colleagues during this time.

  • Eagle_and_flag_max50

    36TR

    almost 3 years ago

    7620 Comments

    RIP, Brother!!!!

  • Ba_old_glory_max50

    Jonas

    almost 3 years ago

    42212 Comments

    How tragic. Rest In Peace Officer Willingham.

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