NC police officer, son of a retired chief, killed by drunk driver three months after joining


A North Carolina police officer, the son of a former military soldier and retired police chief, was shot and killed early Sunday morning when a drunk driver and his partner plowed into a highway crash.

Knightdale Police Officer Ryan Hayworth, a three-month veteran of the force and former US Army veteran, was killed in a vehicle crash on Interstate 540 around 2:39 pm on Sunday. Hayworth, 23, is the eldest son of retired Zebulon Police Chief Timothy Hayworth WTVD Reported.

Knightdale officials are investigating a single-vehicle crash on I-540 when their car cruiser collided with another car. Hayworth’s training officer Cody Hagler was transported to Wake Medical Center in Raleigh, N.C., with serious injuries but not life threatening, police said. The driver of the crash and the driver of the suspected vehicle were also seriously injured in an earlier accident, Dustin Trip said in a press release.

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“Alcohol is believed to have played a factor and the charges are pending,” the release said.

“Ryan was lost in an unexplained tragedy for our department and our community,” Knightdale Police Chief Lawrence Capps said in a statement. “The pain of his death was greatly felt by his family, friends and those who knew him well. As we begin the healing process, we ask that you join us in the Prayer of Prayer for all who have been touched forever. From this heartbreaking event.”

Nightdale officer Ryan Hayworth was killed in a roadside collision, police said.
(Nightdale Police Department)

Hayworth, a graduate of East Wake Academy, was sworn in on July 21 by the Knightdale Police Department.

“As we continue to process this tragedy, other area police departments are helping us,” the Knightdale Police Department said in an update on Facebook around noon Sunday afternoon. “Please advise that you can see surrounding jurisdictional units to help patrol in Knightdale.”

The North Carolina Highway Patrol, which was in charge of investigating the incident, then drove east on Knightdale’s 40-year-old Dedrick Romero Pvt. WNCN Reported. The driver involved in a previous accident has been identified as Michael Routh Melugin, Jr., 45, of Carrie.

A police vehicle was on fire at the time of the accident, and firefighters were on the scene Sunday morning, WNCN reported. The North Carolina Department of Transportation is asking drivers to take alternate routes during a temporary road closure as they process the scene.

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