Hero Down: North Carolina State Trooper Nolan Sanders Killed In Crash
Pikeville, NC – North Carolina Highway Patrol (NCHP) Trooper Nolan Sanders died in a single-vehicle crash while he was out on patrol on Friday night.
The 28-year-old trooper was traveling northbound on Interstate 795 just after 7:15 p.m., when his patrol vehicle veered of the right side of the roadway and slammed into a concrete ditch culvert near the U.S. 70 bypass, WNCN reported.
Trooper Sanders was pinned inside his patrol car after the collision, and several small fires soon ignited, according to WRAL.
Two other troopers arrived at the scene and quickly extinguished the flames, NCHP Colonel Glenn McNeill told the news outlet.
Trooper Sanders was pronounced dead at the scene, according to WCNC.
The exact cause of the collision remains under investigation.
“We don’t feel any type of enforcement action was taking place,” NCHP Sergeant Chris Knox told WNCN.
Col. McNeill said he was serving as the NCHP’s training director when Trooper Sanders joined the agency in May of 2015, WRAL reported.
Trooper Sanders also served as a Wayne County Sheriff’s Office deputy prior to his time with the highway patrol.
“We are grieving right now and we are devastated by this great loss,” the colonel said. “[Trooper Sanders] loved to volunteer and he loved to help his community in any way that he possibly could.”
Trooper Sanders was also a captain with the Indian Springs Volunteer Fire Department, and had served with the Dudley Volunteer Fire Department in the past, WRAL reported.
“Nolan was an outstanding young man. He was very well-liked by everybody…He brightened the room up anytime he came in," Indian Springs Fire Chief Phil Shivar told the news outlet. “He was willing to go the extra step to help his fellow man.”
Colonel McNeill said that the young trooper’s selfless service will never be forgotten.
“Trooper Sanders personified what it meant to be a trooper. His passing will leave a lasting mark on all that had the honor to work together with him,” he told WRAL. "The coming days and weeks will prove to be difficult, but we will stand with the Sanders family throughout this difficult process.”
Trooper Sanders is survived by his wife, Alexis, and his seven-month-old daughter.
He will be laid to rest on Tuesday, the NCHP said in a Facebook post.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Nolan Sanders, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.