Fayetteville police chief Gina V. Hawkins said in a news conference Wednesday that officer Ashton Lambert was headed to a report of a domestic violence incident involving a gun.
Just after 11:50 p.m., near the intersection of Raeford Road and Sandalwood Drive, police said 55-year-old Gregory Graham stepped into the path of officer Lambert's cruiser.
The officer and other witnesses attempted to render aid but Graham did not survive.
Chief Hawkins said the 25-year-old officer was driving in a center lane, and there were cars on both sides of his cruiser just before the crash.
She also said that stretch of road has no lights and is very dark at that time of night.
She said dash cam video indicates Graham stepped out in front of the car in a "split second" and the officer tried to maneuver around him, but it was too late.
She also said Graham was wearing dark clothing, making it difficult to see him.
"Although officer Lambert is a brand new officer, the way he responded, the way he reacted, he could have had 20 years on," Chief Hawkins said. "He was not injured, but he did take this incident very hard."
The lights and siren were not activated at the time of the crash. Chief Hawkins said the decision to activate the lights and sirens is made by the officer.
Preliminary investigation indicates officer Lambert was traveling five to eight mph over the posted speed limit at the time of the crash.