Sgt. Jeffrey Wayne Greene loved his job with the Union County Sheriff’s Office.
Early Wednesday, he was on the way to work when a tractor-trailer struck a tanker truck and then tumbled onto Green’s patrol car in Monroe.
Greene, 54, a 10-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, was killed.
The driver of the truck, identified by the N.C. Highway Patrol as Eddie Weeks, faces misdemeanor death by vehicle charges, troopers said.
The crash was reported shortly after 7 a.m. on westbound U.S. 74 at Sutherland Avenue, near Carolinas Medical Center-Union.
Greene’s patrol car was in the left turn lane on westbound U.S. 74, waiting to turn onto Sutherland Avenue toward the hospital, when his cruiser was crushed.
Married and the father of two daughters, Greene joined the Union County Sheriff’s Office in December 2004.
“Jeff was a fine officer and a fine person,” said Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey. “Every day he had a smile on his face, and every day he was eager to come to work. He loved his job.”
Cathey said Greene was on his way to work when the wreck occurred about 3 or 4 miles from the Sheriff’s Office.
“It’s terrible. Just terrible,” Cathey said.
Greene had worked in the Detention and Security divisions and was currently supervising the Support Services Bureau, which oversees gun permits, fingerprinting and sex offender registration.
Before joining the Sheriff’s Office, Greene served 10 years in the U.S. Air Force and Marine Corps.
Cathey said Greene was active in church and in numerous civic organizations, including the N.C. Baptist Men’s Association. He was also a member of a law enforcement motorcycle club that helps families of public safety employees. Last weekend, he had participated in a ride on behalf of a fellow officer who’d suffered a stroke, Cathey said.
Chief Deputy Ben Bailey with the Union County Sheriff’s Office called Greene a “hard worker.”
“He was one of the first in every morning and one of the last to leave,” Bailey said. “He was a dedicated public servant.”
Bailey said Greene had a “great sense of humor and was always quick with a joke.”
At work, Greene was meticulous and considered each report “very important,” Bailey said.
Well-liked by his fellow officers, Greene “cared about the people he worked with,” Bailey said. “And he cared about his job with the community.”
Flags were lowered to half-staff across Union County after word of Greene’s death spread Wednesday. Bailey described the mood at the Sheriff’s Office as “very somber.”
“We’re still processing our loss,” he said.
The N.C. Highway Patrol brought a special accident reconstruction team to the scene via helicopter, while dozens of Monroe police, sheriff’s deputies and Highway Patrol troopers spent several hours at the site of the wreck. U.S. 74 was closed for several hours, with traffic on the heavily traveled route detoured through downtown Monroe. Davie Hinshaw contributed.