Patrolman William James Smith, Jr.

Patrolman William James Smith, Jr.

North Carolina Highway Patrol, North Carolina

End of Watch Saturday, January 12, 1974

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William James Smith, Jr.

Patrolman Smith was killed in an automobile accident while pursuing a traffic violator on N.C. Highway 101 in Carteret County. His vehicle struck a bridge abutment and burst into flames. Rescuers were unable to approach the vehicle when they arrived because his ammunition was exploding as a result of the heat.

Patrolman Smith was assigned to Troop A, District 8. He had served with the North Carolina Highway Patrol for 25 years and was survived by his wife and son, who later went into law enforcement, and by his daughter.


  • Age 50
  • Tour 25 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Vehicle pursuit
  • Weapon Automobile
  • Offender Not available

vehicle pursuit

Most Recent Reflection

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I never knew Trooper William J. Smith. I was a rookie Trooper assigned to Wilson County ( C-5). I had just started January 2, 1974, just ten days before his death.
However, I’ve had the pleasure to work with his son Jay in Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE). We worked in District III out of New Bern. Jay was through, professional and a pleasure to work with. THAT has got to be an outstanding legacy for Trooper William J. Smith.

Assistant Supervisor (District III)
Alcohol Law Enforcement

July 22, 2021

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