According to Sgt. Chris Knox with the NCSHP, Trooper James N. Horton was heading to assist with a traffic stop conducted by his brother, Trooper John S. Horton, at approximately 8:58 p.m. when the incident occurred.
While nearing the scene of the traffic stop, James Horton lost control of his vehicle and slammed into his brother’s patrol vehicle and then hit his brother and the driver who had been stopped as they stood on the side of the road, Knox said.
The driver, who has not yet been identified, was pronounced dead at the scene. John Horton, a 15-year veteran assigned to Rutherford County, was taken to a hospital in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he later died, said Knox.
James Horton was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries and has since been released.
“Our hearts are broken with the loss of our friend and our brother, Trooper John Horton,” said Colonel Freddy L. Johnson Jr., commander of the State Highway Patrol. “For all involved in this tragic event the coming days will undoubtedly be difficult, but we are committed to stand alongside with them with our thoughts, prayers and unwavering support.”
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the fatal collision. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol Collision Reconstruction Unit is also assisting with the investigation.