A trooper was killed in an overnight crash on Interstate 77 southbound in Yadkin County, according to Chris Knox with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
The deceased trooper has been identified as Samuel Newton Bullard, of Wilkes County. He was a three-year veteran assigned to Surry County.
The crash happened around 11:30 p.m. Monday after a pursuit on Interstate 77 southbound at mile marker 82 near NC-67. Knox said the chase started with a license check.
During the chase, Trooper P.E. Ellis noticed he did not see Trooper Bullard's patrol car behind him. When his attempt at contacting Bullard failed, Ellis turned around and found the patrol car engulfed in flames.
"Our SHP family is devastated by the loss of Trooper Bullard. We are struggling to find words that describe the hurting we feel right now," said Col. Glenn M. McNeill Jr., commander of the State Highway Patrol. "Trooper Bullard died as he was fulfilling his promise to the people of North Carolina, protecting and serving his community."
The North Carolina Troopers Association said on Facebook Tuesday morning that they're looking for Dakota Kape Whitt and Michaela Cheyenne Harrison in connection with the fatal crash.
The southbound lanes were closed for several hours but have since reopened.