Local News

Motorcyclist killed in Wake chase, crash was a paratrooper

Posted December 7, 2015

— The motorcyclist who died Saturday after a high-speed chase through southwestern Wake County was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, a Fort Bragg spokesman said Monday.

Pfc. James Smith, 19, of Eatonville, Wash., joined the Army in June 2014. He reported to the 82nd Airborne Division in September and was assigned to Charlie Company, 307th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

According to the Wake County Sheriff's Office, deputies tried to pull Smith over Saturday just before noon after spotting him speeding and driving recklessly on N.C. Highway 55 near Fuquay-Varina. Smith sped away north on U.S. Highway 401, reaching speeds of 145 mph.

Officials said he approached Old Stage Road at about 100 mph, crossed the center line and struck a 2008 Chevy Silverado stopped at the intersection of Legends and Old Stage roads.

The people in the truck were not hurt. Smith died at the scene. He is survived by his mother, father and stepmother.

“Pfc. Smith was a fine paratrooper whose service and friendship will be sorely missed,” said Lt. Col. Patrick Sullivan, commander of 307th BEB. “Although his life and Army career are no more, I know his teammates in this battalion and throughout the airborne community will keep Pfc. Smith’s spirit alive. He is forever in our hearts, and our most sincere condolences go out to his family and friends during this time of grief."


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  • Gene Stoeckley Dec 8, 2015
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    I have been overtaken and passed at an alarmingly high rate of speed by these reckless motorcycle riders many times on Highway 55 and 401N between Cumberland and Harnett counties. Most times in no passing zones on hills or curves. The LEO's do need to attempt a stop and arrest. Imagine if your spouse, parent or child was killed when one of these nuts plows into them. Your tune would change about letting them go on recklessly and hunt them down another day. That's plain ignorant.

  • Ray Lee Smythe Dec 8, 2015
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    The police should've called off the chase. I'm sure at least one of them got close enough for a plate read and a description of the rider and bike.

  • John Tavolacci Dec 7, 2015
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    High Speed Chases Need To STOP!

  • Larry Wiandt Dec 7, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    Umm he wasn't innocent

  • Tyrone Bigg Dec 7, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    No innocents killed here. Do you have any data to back up your claims?

  • Beth Spears Dec 7, 2015
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    High Speed Chases need to STOP!!!!!!!!!!! Nothing anyone can say can make me change my mind. Innocent people get killed this way.

  • LetsBeFair Dec 7, 2015

    Gosh I wonder what his rush was.