Local News

Nash deputy released from hospital after being shot during I-95 traffic stop

Posted February 4, 2021 10:50 a.m. EST
Updated February 6, 2021 5:26 p.m. EST

— A Nash County deputy has been released from the hospital Saturday, just two days after being shot in the line of duty.

Toney was shot Thursday morning along Interstate 95 near Red Oak following a routine traffic stop.

Deputy William "Tommy" Toney was shot three or four times, Stone said. He underwent surgery at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville and was stable by Thursday evening.

The Nash County Sheriff’s Office released the following statement on Toney being released from the hospital.

"Great news everyone!

Deputy Toney will be released from Vidant Hospital today. We anticipate him being released somewhere around 3 p.m. The Nash County Sheriffs Office will be providing Deputy Toney a blue light escort home. We will leave Vidant Hospital and travel 264 Bypass to NC 581, and NC 581 to just outside Spring Hope. Anyone wishing to show support for Deputy Toney is asked to line the route if possible. We will update a more exact time once we know for sure. Thank you for all your support during this time."

Fellow deputies from this office and members of the community poured into show support for his release. From his time at the hospital to making his way home, Deputy Toney remained in good spirits. He says he considers himself thankful to be surrounded by loved ones, but knows things could have turned out differently.

"Very emotional for us, as you guys know, back in Dec. we lost Jarred [Allison] in our department," Toney said. "Very hard today, very mixed emotions with him doing the same thing."

Deputy Shelby Smith pulled a speeding 2008 Mercedes over on I-95 shortly before 10 a.m., and, after talking to the driver, suspected "criminal activity was afoot," the Sheriff Keith Stone said. So, she called for backup, and Toney responded.

The deputies had the driver, Jarred Javon Ford, 33, of St. Petersburg, Fla., get out of the car, and he then pulled out a gun and opened fire on the deputies, Stone said.

Smith returned fire, and, as Ford scampered to a ditch along the highway, he lost his gun, the sheriff said. Smith then held him at gunpoint until other law enforcement and paramedics could arrive.

Ford was wounded in the exchange, and he also underwent surgery at Vidant Medical Center. His condition wasn't known Thursday evening.

Stone said he will face numerous charges upon his release from the hospital.

Smith was injured in the incident and was treated at UNC Nash Health Care and released. State Highway Patrol Trooper Sammy McKeel, who was one of the first to arrive at the scene, was treated for exhaustion at the hospital and released.

"They were in God's hands. That's the only reason these officers are here," Stone said.

Stone didn't elaborate on what criminal activity Ford might have been involved in to raise Smith's suspicions, but he noted that Ford has a lengthy criminal record and was a convicted felon with a gun and a revoked driver's license.

"It's alarming to me that these types of individuals are out roaming the streets," Stone said, noting that Ford's record includes convictions on various drugs and weapons charges, driving offenses and aggravated assaults.

"This man had all of the intent of killing one of the people that protect you every day," he added. "It puts every person in America at risk."

Toney is a K-9 handler for the Nash County Sheriff's Office, but his dog, Chase, was in the patrol car during the entire incident and wasn't injured, Stone said.

Toney was in good spirits at the hospital and was expected to make a full recovery, the sheriff said.

Friend Mark Cone said good spirits are common for Toney.

“You never see Tommy without a smile," Cone said. "He’s got a boisterous laugh. You can hear him coming from two blocks. He’s the kind of guy you just enjoy being around.

"If you’re going to have blue lights in your rearview mirror, he’s the guy you want pulling you over," he added, "because, if you're having a bad day, he’s the guy that’s going to try to cheer you up. ... He’s just a general all-around good person.”

Southbound lanes of Interstate 95 were closed at Exit 145 near N.C. Highway 4, near Red Oak and north of Rocky Mount for more than six hours as authorities investigated the shooting.

The highway reopened shortly before 5 p.m., although lengthy backups remained.

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