The crash happened around 3:10am on Vargrave Street.
Winston-Salem Police Chief Scott Cunningham held a news conference at 8:30 Saturday morning.
Chief Cunningham said Officer Willingham, 28, was responding to assist a fellow officer when he ran off the road, down an embankment and struck a tree.
In 2008, I wrote an article titled: “How We Die: The Untold Story”
Here is an excerpt from that article: “The most troubling number discovered is the amount of one-vehicle collisions involved in officer deaths. Sixty percent of all deadly collisions involved just the police vehicle.”
Sadly, years later we are still seeing this trend in line of duty deaths. There are some line of duty deaths that we cannot stop and there are others that we can.
A few weeks ago, I was in North Carolina teaching a course on Below 100. It is a campaign designed to reduce our line of duty deaths to Below 100 per year. My heart is with this community and state following this tragedy.
Everytime we see a hero die, we should pray for their family, community and their agency. We should also do everything we can to prevent these deaths in the future.
Personally, I think I can do more. How about you?
Update: On August 1, 2011, another North Carolina Officer Died in the line of duty. Deputy David Dawson, 21, was killed in a single vehicle collision while responding to assist another officer.