SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. — A Nebraska State Patrol trooper was killed in the line of duty when another vehicle crossed over a center line and hit his patrol unit head-on, a release from the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) said.
Trooper Jerry L Smith was traveling on Highway 26 in Morrill County when his unit was struck around 7:45 a.m. Thursday.
“This is a tragic day for the Nebraska State Patrol”, said Colonel John Bolduc, superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol. “A family has lost a husband and a father. Our troopers have lost a colleague and a friend. Our state has lost a true public servant.”
Smith, 51, died at the scene and is survived by his wife and two adult children. The driver of the other vehicle was ejected and was also died in the crash. The driver of a third vehicle that was involved in the crash was not seriously injured, NSP said.
Smith joined the NSP in 2014. He graduated from the 56th Basic Recruit Class in May 2015 at the age of 47 and is believed to be the oldest recruit to ever complete NSP’s Basic Recruit Camp.
He was stationed in Scottsbluff as part of Troop E for his entire NSP career. Prior to joining NSP, Smith led a decorated career in the United States Army, serving our country from 1986 to 2011.
Smith earned numerous honors during his military career, including a bronze star for his service in two tours of combat in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“Trooper Smith was doing what he did every day, diligently patrolling Nebraska’s roadways,” said Colonel Bolduc. “This is a sad reminder of the dangers our law enforcement professionals face daily. Our prayers are with Trooper Smith’s family.”
The crash remains under investigation by the Morrill County Sheriff’s Office and Scotts Bluff County Sheriff’s Office.
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