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Trooper William J. Starling | North Carolina Highway Patrol, North Carolina North Carolina Highway Patrol, North Carolina

Trooper

William J. Starling

North Carolina Highway Patrol, North Carolina

End of Watch: Monday, July 20, 1998

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 35

Tour: 13 years

Badge # F-241

Cause: Automobile accident

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Master Trooper Starling was killed in a single car accident on a rural road in Wilkes County. It is speculated that Trooper Starling was initiating a traffic strop because his vehicle, a 1997 Crown Victoria, had it's wigwag lights activated. Trooper Starling lost control of the vehicle upon entering a sharp left turn, at which point it overturned and ran down a 10-foot embankment.

Master Trooper Starling had served with the agency for 13 years. He is survived by his fiancée, daughter, and two sons. In 2005 a bridge on US 421 in Wilkesboro was named in his honor.

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Most Recent Reflection

1 Apr 2014

Tonight I learned of a car accident in Wilkes that claimed the lives of two students of my alma mater, North Wilkes High School. My heart goes out to those families. This is yet another very sad loss for them and the community.

I am reminded tonight however of Trooper Starling, and the lessons he taught me during just one meeting. I am very grateful for the speeding ticket he wrote me when I was in my senior year at NWHS. The ticket and his later death (along the same road I earned my ticket on) taught me multiple life lessons which have stayed with me all these years.

To the family of Trooper Starling: my sincerest condolences for your loss. Though I only met him once - I have thought of him many times over the years. Having found this page tonight, I felt obliged to share the story with you.

The first time I saw your father he was parked along a wood line; I passed by doing about 75mph and I just saw him out of the corner of my eye! He caught up to me some distance later, and pulled me over. I watched in my rearview & side mirror as he exited his patrol car, then with a superhero-like stature stepped in the road and directed two of my classmates (who had been on my bumper as we passed the Radar) to pull over. We each received speeding tickets …three of us! … Tickets we well deserved. Many other students on their way to school saw the epic three-car traffic stop made by one trooper that morning. I have no doubt Trooper Starling saved lives out of the Class of 1998!

His professionalism and fairness, and the lesson he taught me that morning about the foolishness of my speeding has stayed with me all these years. It remains my only speeding ticket.

We lost a fine man, a fine trooper in Trooper William J. Starling.

Know, he is not forgotten.

Master Sergeant Jimmy L. Blevins Jr.
USAF, Active
April 1, 2014

 

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