Hundreds gather to remember trooper killed in Yadkin County crash

WILKES COUNTY, N.C. -- A trooper killed in a crash in Yadkin County was laid to rest Friday afternoon in Wilkes County.

The viewing service and funeral for Trooper Samuel Newton Bullard were held at the John A. Walker Center in Wilkesboro.

The procession went to Macedonia Baptist Church in Ronda for Bullard’s burial.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers from around the country and members of the community came to show their respects.

The crash happened around 11:30 p.m. Monday after a pursuit on Interstate 77 southbound at mile marker 82 near N.C. 67. The chase started with a license check in the State Road community of Surry County.

During the chase, Trooper P.E. Ellis noticed he did not see Bullard's patrol car behind him. When his attempt at contacting Bullard failed, Ellis turned around and found the patrol car engulfed in flames.

The suspect in the pursuit and crash, 22-year-old Dakota Kape Whitt, of Elkin, was arrested around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday after a tip led to a traffic stop. He faces charges of second-degree murder, flee to elude arrest in a motor vehicle, driving with a revoked license, resisting public officer and two counts of failure to appear.

The murder charge is because of malice used during reckless driving causing a death, Highway Patrol said.

He was taken to the Wilkes County Detention Center in Wilkesboro.

There were three people in the vehicle at the time of the chase. The owner of the vehicle is not facing any charges.