Wilkes County, NC – Police have arrested the alleged driver involved in a vehicle pursuit that left a North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper dead on Monday night.
“Around 3 a.m., the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by Dakota Whitt, wishing to turn himself in on outstanding charges,” Wilkes County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Logan Kerr told the Wilkes Journal-Patriot.
Whitt’s father, Christopher Whitt, agreed to bring his son to a church parking lot.
Once investigators learned of Whitt’s location, they intercepted his vehicle in northeast Wilkes County, and took him into custody without incident, Sgt. Baker said, according to The News & Observer.
“It should be noted [that] any time one of our troopers is harmed, the State Highway Patrol will use any and all resources to ensure those involved are swiftly brought to justice,” he added.
Police had been searching for Whitt since approximately 10:50 p.m. on Monday, when he failed to stop at a driver’s license checkpoint being conducted by Trooper Samuel Bullard and Trooper P.W. Ellis, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety said in a press release.
Both troopers pursued the BMW to I-77 south into Yadkin County, but Trooper Ellis lost contact with Trooper Bullard about three minutes into the chase, so he called it off and went back to look for him.
Trooper Bullard, 24, had stopped responding to radio calls, police said.
Trooper Ellis found Trooper Bullard’s crashed patrol vehicle at mile marker 80. The trooper’s car had collided with a bridge support on the interstate and burst into flames, according to WXII.
Trooper Ellis was unable to pull Trooper Bullard from the burning car, and Trooper Bullard was pronounced dead at the scene, WXII reported.
Investigators located the BMW and its registered owner, Cheyenne Harrison, on Tuesday, the Wilkes Journal-Patriot reported.
Whitt has been charged with second-degree murder, driving while license revoked, and fleeing to elude arrest in a motor vehicle causing death, police said.
He was denied bond during his Wednesday morning arraignment in Yadkin County, The News & Observer reported..