Local News

Hundreds Pay Final Respects At Wake County Deputy's Funeral

Posted October 6, 2003 7:16 a.m. EDT

— Hundreds of law enforcement officers from around the state paid their respects Monday to a Wake County deputy who died on the job.

Deputy Phil Owens died early Thursday morning near Fuquay-Varina when his car hit a tree. He became the second Wake County deputy to die in a car crash in the past month -- only the third in the last 70 years.

Rows of uniformed officers came to Monday's funeral service in Sampson County. In fact, other police departments and sheriff's offices sent personnel to work in Wake County Monday so Owens' colleagues could come here.

Owens' friends and co-workers talked about how he wanted to be in law enforcement from a young age.

Deputy Robert Davis was Phil Owen's friend.

"Three hours before his death, he came by and saw me," Davis said. "He shook my hand and said: 'I'll see you later.' I never thought it would be the last time I would see my friend alive."

Neither did the rows and rows of uniformed deputies and officers.

"No words can express this tragedy or the grief we feel when an officer of the law loses his life," said friend Carol Worley.

Said Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison: "We know every morning when we leave, or every night when we leave, we may not be able to check '10-42'. Phil Owens last Thursday did not have the privilege of saying '10-42' last Thursday morning."

An eight-year veteran of the force, Owens was one of eight children raised by their father. Owens lost his mother at an early age.

Harrison said Owens always knew where he was headed.

"When he was 7, he got his first cap pistol," Harrison said. "He loved to play cops and robbers."

Owens leaves behind a widow-- who could barely walk after the service. His 10-year-old daughter and other family members were just as distraught.

"He is safely home," Harrison said. "Well done, good and faithful servant."