NC officer killed in crash while pursuing robbery suspect

Officer Jared Franks, 24, had been with the Greensboro Police for just over two years

Duty Death: Jared Franks - [Greensboro, North Carolina]

End of Service: 11/10/2018

By Mike Kernels
News & Record

GREENSBORO, NC — The last time one of the city’s police officers died in the line of duty, Jared William Franks was a child.

That was 17 years ago.

Pictured is Jared Franks. (Photo/ODMP)
Pictured is Jared Franks. (Photo/ODMP)

On Saturday night, Franks had been with the Greensboro Police Department just over two years when he joined other units in tracking down a robbery suspect, a pursuit that began in the 2700 block of Randleman Road.

But when he burst onto the scene, Franks’ vehicle struck another police car and was sent careening through a nearby yard and into a house.

The house was occupied at the time, but no one was hurt.

Franks, however, died from his injuries. He was just 24.

During a news conference Sunday afternoon at police headquarters, Chief Wayne Scott said “this department and this community have lost a hero.”

He also said the last several hours had been “some of the most trying times” he’s experienced as the department’s leader.

Seventeen years. That’s a long time for a police department to go without losing one of its own.

But the job can be perilous at any time in almost any situation. That uncertainty comes with the badge.

“Every officer who puts on this uniform understands when they leave their house the consequences they may endure,” Scott told reporters. “Every family who supports an officer knows that as well. Unfortunately ... those worst fears came to be true for one family.”

Franks came from what Scott called a “family” of law enforcement officers, many of whom have worked for Greensboro police. He joined the department in June 2016. He wasn’t married and didn’t have any children.

On Sunday, Scott laid out the events leading up to Franks’ death. A big unknown: his speed before the collision.

Scott said an investigation into the crash should yield that as well as what exactly led to the pursuit.

This is what we do know: The incident began around 7:45 p.m. Saturday when a plainclothes officer spotted what they believed was a robbery in progress in the 2700 block of Randleman Road. When the suspect left, the officer followed and called for help.

A number of units responded, including Franks.

The plainclothes officer lost sight of the suspect’s car when Franks arrived, lights and sirens running.

“Obviously, in a case such as this, many people are trying to converge on an area to locate an individual,” Scott said.

According to Scott, Franks “made slight contact” as he tried to avoid hitting the other police car. That impact sent him off the road and toward a house near the intersection of Webster Road and South Elm-Eugene Street.

“He cared about his community,” Scott said. “He was working hard to try to do his job.”

Similar things were said 17 years ago about David L. Taylor Jr., a 35-year-old narcotics officer who collapsed from what appeared to be heat exhaustion on an August day.

Franks is the 11th officer in department history to die in the line of duty.

Seventeen years. On Sunday, Scott said he was “grateful” it’s been that long since “we had to have this conversation.”

“It’s just a time now of recovery,” he said.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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