Highway patrol intern dies in crash while riding with trooper

The 22-year-old college senior died while riding with a trooper who was attempting to stop a driver suspected of DUI

By Virginia Bridges
The Herald-Sun, Durham, N.C.

PITT COUNTY, N.C. — An East Carolina University senior died early Saturday while working as a North Carolina State Highway Patrol intern riding with a trooper who lost control of his car, according to the State Highway Patrol.

Michael Steven Higgins, 22, of Hertford, died in a single-car collision while riding with a trooper who was attempting to stop a suspected impaired driver in Pitt County, according to a news release from the agency.

Photo/North Carolina State Highway Patrol

Around 1 a.m. Saturday, Trooper Omar Romero lost control of his vehicle on a curve, traveled off the roadway and struck a utility pole and two large trees, the release stated.

Higgins died at the scene. He was participating in the internship program while working on a major in criminal justice.

Romero, who has has worked for the agency for two years, was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, the release stated.

“My heart breaks for everyone touched by this extremely tragic situation,” said Col. Glenn M. McNeill Jr., commander of the State Highway Patrol, according to the release.

“Our college interns are a part of the patrol family and we are in mourning as we have lost one of our own beloved members,” he said, and expressed condolences to Higgins’ family, East Carolina University students and faculty. , and to anyone who knew Higgins. had the privileged opportunity to know Michael,” he said.

The State Highway Patrol’s Internal Affairs Unit and Reconstruction Unit are completing internal and criminal investigations, which is standard procedure when a trooper is involved in a fatal crash.

©2020 The Herald-Sun (Durham, N.C.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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