N.C. state trooper killed in car wreck
RALEIGH, N.C. — The State Highway Patrol today is mourning the loss of a Raleigh-based trooper killed in the line of duty.
Trooper Andrew J. Stocks, 43, died Tuesday after a collision on Ten-Ten Road near Old Stage Road.
Stocks had been dispatched to a nearby wreck when his patrol car collided with a garbage truck just west of the intersection, the Highway Patrol said.
The accident is still under investigation, and details of the accident were not released Tuesday, but patrol spokesman Capt. Everett Clendenin said the point of impact was the driver's door on the patrol car. Investigators don't know whether the cruiser's blue lights and siren were on at the time of the collision, he said.
Stocks was critically injured at the scene. He died either while being transported to WakeMed or shortly after arriving, Clendenin said.
The garbage truck driver suffered minor injuries. Clendenin said the patrol doesn't expect to file charges.
Ten-Ten Road was closed for hours while authorities investigated, snarling traffic near Vance Elementary School.
Stocks grew up in Wake County and graduated from Cary High School in 1983. He and his wife, Liane, have one child.
"We're dealing with a huge loss," Clendenin said.
Stocks joined the Highway Patrol in April 2004 after leaving the military, where he had served as a Marine in Afghanistan and with the U.S. Army Reserve in Iraq, Clendenin said, praising him for service both to his country and North Carolina. Tuesday was the one-year anniversary of Stocks' return from a tour of duty in Iraq, Clendenin added.
Liane Stocks asked Clendenin to say that "Andrew loved his job as a state trooper," he said. "He loved his service to his country, and he wanted to do that back home in the States -- he wanted to continue to serve."
"She said that he was always happy when he was working as as state trooper," Clendenin said.
Patrol Commander Col. Walter J. Wilson also spoke with the media outside WakeMed, where Liane Stocks and senior members of the patrol had gathered.
"Today is a very sad day for the Highway Patrol," Wilson said. "It's a very hazardous job, but it's a very honorable profession."
"My thoughts and prayers are extended to Trooper Stocks' family," Wilson said in a news release. "The patrol is feeling the loss of one [of] our own, one who lost his life serving the citizens of the state."
Stocks is the 60th trooper to die in the line of duty since the formation of the Highway Patrol in 1929, Clendenin said, and the second death this year. In June, Trooper D. Shawn Blanton Jr. was shot and killed in Haywood County after stopping a vehicle for a traffic violation.
Clendenin said investigators would like to speak with anyone who saw Tuesday's accident. Witnesses are asked to call the Highway Patrol at 733-4400.