The North Carolina trooper who died Monday night in a fiery crash on Interstate 77 was engaged to be married in August, reports TV station WXII.
Trooper Samuel Newton Bullard's tux was fitted, the wedding cake was ordered and his fiancee, Michelle Leigh Mathis, already has her dress, the station says.
Instead of a wedding, however, Bullard's family will be attending his funeral Friday in Ronda, N.C. He was 24.
The man accused of causing his death was captured early Wednesday, according to the State Bureau of Investigation. Suspect Dakota Kape Whitt, 22, is charged with murder, felony fleeing to elude arrest and driving with a revoked license, said the SBI.
Details of the capture were not released, but Whitt was arrested at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday and did not put up a fight, officials said. He is in the Wilkes County Detention Center, officials said.
Whitt is accused of being behind the wheel of a BMW that fled a police check point at 10:50 p.m. Monday on Interstate 77 in Yadkin County, according to state officials. When the BMW refused to stop, troopers pursued it.
Trooper Samuel Newton Bullard died during the chase when his patrol car struck a bridge support and the car became “engulfed in flames,” according to TV station WFMY.
Officials say another trooper discovered the crash after losing sight of Bullard's vehicle and circling back to find him, reported WRAL.
That trooper tried to rescue Bullard but failed to reach him, said WFMY. Bullard died at the scene, investigators said in a press release.
Bullard was a three-year veteran of the department, assigned to Surry County, according to information released by the N.C. Department of Public Safety.
Bullard, a Wilkes County native, will be buried Friday at the Macedonia Baptist Church Cemetery in Ronda.
His funeral services will be 1 p.m. Friday at John A. Walker Center in Wilkesboro, with Rev. Victor Church officiating. The family will receive friends from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The burial will be with full honors provided by the State Highway Patrol Honor Guard, according to his obituary.
Secretary Erik Hooks of the N.C. Department of Public Safety said Bullard's death underscores the dangers law enforcement officers face every day.