NC police officer hit and killed, another hurt while investigating crash

KNIGHTDALE, N.C. — A Knightdale police officer died in a car crash on Interstate 540 outside of Raleigh early Sunday morning, WTVD reports.

The crash happened around 2:40 a.m. on eastbound I-540 near the Buffaloe Road exit. Officials said officers Ryan Hayworth, 23, and Cody Hagler, 25, were investigating a single-car crash in the far right lane when Dedric Privette, 40, slammed into the back of an officers’ patrol vehicle, pushing it into another patrol car.

After the accident, all three cars were spread out across all three lanes.

Hayworth, a three-month veteran of the force and former member of the US Army, was killed in the collision.

Hagler was seriously hurt. He was rushed to the hospital and is expected to be OK, WTVD reported.

”Ryan’s loss is an indescribable tragedy for our department and our community,” Police Chief Lawrence Capps told WTVD. “The pain of his death (is) felt the most by his family, friends and those who knew him best.”

The driver of the initial crash, Michael Melugin, Jr., 45, as well as Privette, were both seriously hurt and also sent to Wake Medical Center.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol is now investigating the crashes. Alcohol has been named as a possible factor in at least one of the crashes, officials said.

All eastbound lanes of I-540 are closed as the investigation continues, troopers said. Eastbound traffic is being detoured onto Buffalo Road with the help of the Raleigh Police Department.

(WATCH BELOW: NC trooper returns to full duty year after being seriously hurt in I-485 crash)