CAPTURED: Man Responsible For Trooper's Death In Custody

North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Samuel Bullard was killed in the line of duty as he pursued a BMW on Monday night.

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.

Dakota Whitt, 22, was apprehended during a traffic stop at approximately 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday, North Carolina State Highway Patrol spokesman Sergeant Baker said, according to The News & Observer.

“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..

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Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

If catching the fleeing suspect immediately means that a police officer will die, then yes, the suspect should be allowed to temporarily escape. Here, the pursuit policy cost a policeman's life and it was not worth it. That is why the policy should change going forward.


I wonder how you're suppose to know a police officer will lose his life it he chases after a suspect? I guess that amongst everything else people expect from the police, now they want us to be able to predict the future.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

One way to "predict the future" is to pay attention to this site to see how many officers are losing their lives in chases on a weekly basis.


I understand where you are coming from. It's a sad thing that this officer lost his life, but different policies and better training could have possibly resulted in a different outcome. That being said, there are many other factors that come into play in pursuits, mainly the obvious one of the person who is willing to engage in a high speed escape is a clear and present danger to everyone around. Something has to be done. Another issue is the media bias against officers in situations where the suspect crashes. People like to question whether the police should have called off the chase, or not engaged in the first place. In today's society, officers are often damned if they do, and damned if they don't, and it's a sad truth to accept.