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Man charged with killing state trooper captured

Trooper Samuel Newton Bullard, 24, was a three-year veteran of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol who was killed overnight following a chase and crash on Interstate 77. (Photo: NCDPS)

UPDATE:

Dakota Whitt has been captured.

State Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Michael Baker said authorities captured Whitt without incident at 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

He was booked into the Wilkes County Detention Center in Wilkesboro.

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The driver involved in the chase that led to the death of a state highway trooper has been identified.

Dakota Kape Whitt is wanted for murder and felony flee to elude arrest in a motor vehicle causing a death. Whitt is 5-foot-11, 160 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

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A North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper was killed overnight following a chase and crash on Interstate 77.

Trooper Samuel Newton Bullard, 24, was a three-year veteran assigned to Troop E, District 5 (Surry County). The chase and crash happened in Yadkin County.

“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,” Col. Glenn M. McNeill Jr., commander of the State Highway Patrol, said. “Trooper Bullard died as he was fulfilling his promise to the people of North Carolina, protecting and serving his community.”

Officials said that the incident happened around 10:50 p.m. on Monday, when Trooper Bullard and Trooper P.E. Ellis were conducting a driver license checkpoint at their assigned duty station. That's when a black BMW failed to stop for the troopers, fleeing the checkpoint. Officials said that the troopers pursued the BMW, until they reached I-77 south traveling into Yadkin County.

At 10:53 p.m., Trooper Ellis couldn't see Trooper Bullard behind him during the chase. Officials said Trooper Ellis attempted to reach Trooper Bullard through in-car communications. Unable to reach him, Ellis stopped pursuing the BMW and returned north on I-77.

Officials said Trooper Ellis found Trooper Bullard's vehicle, which was involved in a collision at mile marker 80. Trooper Bullard was pronounced dead at the scene.

“With great sadness, we acknowledge the line of duty death of State Highway Patrol Trooper Bullard," Secretary Erik Hooks of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety said. "My prayers are with Trooper Bullard’s family and our State Highway Patrol family. Our law enforcement professionals face dangers daily in carrying out the mission to protect our communities. Throughout the department, we mourn the loss of our fallen comrade.”

Highway Patrol is now working with other agencies to search for the suspect(s) involved.

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