Crime & Courts

Union County sheriff’s sergeant laid to rest in Monroe

Hundreds of people packed a Union County church Saturday to honor and celebrate the life of a law enforcement officer and friend who died in a traffic wreck Wednesday morning.

Sgt. Jeffrey Wayne Greene, the first member of the Union County Sheriff’s Office killed while on duty, was remembered as a hard-working law enforcement officer and a friend who was always willing to help others.

“Whatever job God has for him, if he hasn’t already done it, he’s well on his way,” Sheriff Eddie Cathey told the crowd gathered at Lakeview Baptist Church north of Monroe.

Afterward, a procession with an estimated 100 law enforcement vehicles traveled more than 8 miles to Lakeland Memorial Park in Monroe, where Greene, 54, a 10-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, was buried. Residents lined the funeral procession route as it passed through downtown Monroe.

Greene was killed Wednesday morning when a tractor-trailer collided with a tanker truck on westbound U.S. 74 at Sutherland Avenue in Monroe and then toppled on top of the sergeant’s patrol car. Greene’s vehicle was in the left turn lane on U.S. 74 at the time. He died at the scene.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Eddie Weeks, was charged by the N.C. Highway Patrol with misdemeanor death by vehicle.

Greene, a military veteran, joined the sheriff’s office in 2004 and was promoted to sergeant in 2006. He was active in the community, and officials said he was well-liked by co-workers.

Shortly before the 11 a.m. start of his funeral service, more than 100 law enforcement officers lined up and entered the church. Cathey, who said Greene was a friend, spoke of the fallen officer’s dedication and said, “Jeff was a good person.”

The Rev. Steve Jirgal, senior pastor at Lakeview Baptist, recalled numerous times when Greene gave of his personal time to help others. “He loved people, he loved his family, and he loved Jesus Christ,” Jirgal said.

The procession down U.S. 601 from the church to the cemetery was led by the Renegade Pigs, a motorcycle club of which Greene was a member. Exactly one week earlier, the Renegade Pigs, led by Greene, conducted a fund-raising ride to help a sheriff’s deputy recovering from a stroke.

The procession included a fly-over by police helicopters, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg police aircraft.

Sheriff’s Capt. Jeffrey Outen read a statement from the Greene family, thanking law enforcement agencies, emergency responders and others who have helped the family.

“The family would like to express our appreciation for the outpouring of sympathy we have received from the local community, as well as from across the nation,” the family said in the statement.

The family also thanked Amber McCann, a nurse who was driving a Kia that also was struck by the tractor-trailer as it overturned. McCann was not seriously injured, and she rushed to Greene’s vehicle to help.

“Thank you for doing what you could for Jeff at the scene of the accident,” the family said to McCann. “May God bless you.”

Greene is survived by his wife of 29 years, April, by daughters Nicole and Allison, and by five grandchildren.

Greene is the third law enforcement officer in Union County who was killed in the line of duty, and the first in nearly a century, county spokesman Brett Vines said.

The other two were Monroe Police Officer John Pearce, who died following an assault in 1888, and Wingate Policeman R. Edgar Williams, who was shot and killed in 1917.

Staff writer Adam Bell contributed to this story.

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