Police Officer Russell Willingham Winston-Salem Police Department, North Carolina EoW: Saturday, July 30, 2011

Police Officer Russell Willingham | Winston-Salem Police Department, North CarolinaWinston-Salem Police Department, North Carolina

Police Officer
Russell Willingham

Winston-Salem Police Department, North Carolina
End of Watch: Saturday, July 30, 2011

Biographical Info

Age: 28
Tour of Duty: 2 years
Badge Number: Not available

Incident Details

Cause of Death: Automobile accident
Date of Incident: July 30, 2011
Weapon Used: Not available
Suspect Info: Not available

Agency Contact Information

Winston-Salem Police Department
725 N Cherry Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Phone: (336) 773-7700

Police Officer Russell Willingham was killed in an automobile accident while responding to backup another officers at approximately 3:15 am.
He was traveling on North Vargrave Street when his patrol car left the roadway and struck a tree. He was able to notify dispatch that he was pinned inside and rescue units were dispatched. Moments later he notified dispatchers that his vehicle had caught fire. When the rescue units arrived the vehicle was fully engulfed in flames.
Officer Willingham had served with the Winston-Salem Police Department for two years and had previously served with the Greensboro Police Department.

Winston-Salem, NC — Investigators are trying to figure out what caused the crash that killed Winston-Salem Police Officer Russell Willingham.

The crash happened around 3:10am on Vargrave Street.

Winston-Salem Police Chief Scott Cunningham held a news conference at 8:30 Saturday morning.

Chief Cunningham said Officer Willingham, 28, was responding to assist a fellow officer when he ran off the road, down an embankment and struck a tree.

"Officer Willingham was able to call and advise of the situation and advised that he was pinned in the vehicle. Before officers could arrive on the scene, he advised the vehicle had caught fire. When officers arrived the vehicle was fully engulfed in flames," said Cunningham.

Officer Willingham died at the scene. He had been with WSPD since August 2009. Previously, he worked for the Greensboro Police Department from April 2007 to April 2009.

"Officer Willingham was a dedicated officer of this police department and he was a good man," said Cunningham.

"I cannot after all the years, I still cannot find the words to tell the family that I am so sorry."

Officials are investigating the crash to determine a cause. Cunningham said they believe Officer Willingham was responding as backup because a fellow officer spotted a possible drunk driver who had almost hit another car.

Cunningham said they are analzying the car, radio tapes and and other calls to to understand the entire scenario and chain of events.

Cunningham said they will share funeral arrangements when they are finalized.

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