Local News

Police: Death of soldier on All American Freeway an accident

Posted April 27, 2009 3:39 p.m. EDT

— Police have ruled the death of a Special Operations soldier on the side of a highway last Friday to be an accident.

Army Sgt. Jason Lightfoot, 30, died on the shoulder of All American Freeway early Friday. Police initially said they believed that Lightfoot  was walking on the northbound shoulder toward Fort Bragg and was hit by a Jeep driven by a female acquaintance.

After questioning the driver, Christine Gail Pearce, 39, of Yorktown, Va., and reconstructing the incident, however, investigators determined Lightfoot's death was an accident. No charges will be filed against Pearce, police said.

Lightfoot and Pearce were arguing in the vehicle when Pearce pulled off the highway near the Cliffdale Road exit and ordered Lightfoot to get out, investigators said. As Pearce began to drive off, Lightfoot jumped onto the side of the Jeep, smashing a side mirror with his fist, investigators said.

Lightfoot then lost his grip, rolled off the vehicle and fell to the pavement, hitting his head, police said.

A native of Beaumont, Texas, he served as watercraft engineer with the Marine Operations Committee, Operations Detachment, Group Support Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne).