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North Carolina trooper killed in crash involving brother's patrol car

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Posted at 9:26 AM, Jan 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-05 14:00:39-05

A North Carolina community is heartbroken after a police trooper died in a tragic car crash Monday night.

Trooper John Horton was pronounced dead at a Spartanburg hospital after suffering injuries in a crash involving a police cruiser driven by his brother, Trooper James Horton.

A motorcyclist that John Horton had pulled over also died in the collision.

"He's one of the greatest men I ever met," said James Lovelace, a family friend of the Hortons.

Lovelace arrived on the scene after hearing the crash just outside his home in Rutherford County.

"I knew just as soon as I seen him who it was," Lovelace said. "He's gone. All his kids. His wife. Why couldn't they have picked somebody else?"

Some in the area came by Tuesday to place markers at the scene. Others came by to pay their respects to the men who died there.

Friends say James Horton — who goes by Nick — was inspired to go into law enforcement because of his older brother's dedication.

"It's probably like a bad dream to him this morning. Like a bad dream you just can't get out of," family friend Anthony Smith said.

Colonel Freddy L. Johnson Jr., the commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, released a statement honoring the fallen trooper.

"Our hearts are broken with the loss of our friend and our brother, Trooper John Horton. For all involved in this tragic event the coming days will undoubtedly be difficult, but we are committed to stand alongside with them with our thoughts, prayers, and unwavering support," Johnson's statement read.

Back the Blue NC told CNN that the organization started a GoFundMe to assist the family with funeral costs.