Grand jury returns murder indictment in death of Knightdale police officer Ryan Hayworth

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Monday, October 17, 2022
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A Wake County grand jury has indicted a driver on a second-degree murder charge in the death of a Knightdale police officer one year ago today.

KNIGHTDALE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Wake County grand jury has indicted a man on a second-degree murder charge in the death of a Knightdale police officer one year ago today.

Officer Ryan Hayworth, 23, was killed Oct. 17, 2021, on I-540 when his cruiser was struck by a car driven by Dedric Romero Privette.

Hayworth was investigating an earlier crash when Privette's car slammed into him at nearly 80 mph.

Privette was also indicted Monday on a DWI charge as well as careless and reckless driving, felony serious injury, and failing to move over for an emergency vehicle.

"Nothing will bring our brother back to us, but this indictment is a huge step toward justice," said Knightdale Police Chief Lawrence Capps."

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Officer Cody Hagler who was also investigating at the scene when Hayworth was fatally struck, was severely injured and continues to recover, Knightdale Police said Monday.

"Today marks the one-year anniversary of Ryan's death, so this is timely and welcomed news," Capps said. "The Knightdale Police Department would like to express our sincere appreciation to N.C. State Highway Patrol, the District Attorney's Office, and the members of grand jury for their commitment to justice in this case."

Capps said the Hayworth family had been informed of the new charges.

In a statement, the family said: "We are pleased to see the upgraded charges. While nothing can bring Ryan back to us, we hope that this is the beginning of finding a level of justice that honors his sacrifice."

Hayworth is the oldest son of retired Zebulon Police Chief Timothy Hayworth.

Privette, who was also injured in the crash, is awaiting trial on these charges.