Community joins Knightdale police in mourning officer killed while responding to I-540 crash

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Monday, October 18, 2021
Community mourns Knightdale officer killed while responding to crash
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A steady stream of people wanting to pay their respects, dropped by the Knightdale Police Department to place flowers on top of a patrol car parked out front in memory of Officer Ryan Hayworth.

KNIGHTDALE, N.C. (WTVD) -- People in Knightdale are joining the police department, mourning the death of a young officer in the line of duty.

Ryan Hayworth, 23, had only been on the force for three months and was still in field training when he was killed Sunday morning.

The NC State Highway Patrol said a suspected drunk driver did not slow down or move over when he ran into the back of Hayworth's patrol car in the far right eastbound lane of I-540.

Hayworth and his training officer Cody Hagler had responded to a crash around 2:40 a.m. and were investigating when troopers said Dedric Privette, 40, of Knightdale crashed his Mercedes into Hayworth's car, killing him.

Hagler, Privette, and the driver in the original accident were all injured and taken to the hospital.

On Monday, a steady stream of people from the community wanting to pay their respects, dropped by the police department to place flowers on top of a patrol car parked out front in memory of Hayworth.

One of those who stopped by was Matthew Hannon, a childhood friend of Hayworth's who drove from Greensboro when he got the news.

"Ryan was a type of man who cared deeply about those around him," said Hannon. "He's always sort of had the community service blood in him."

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

On Monday, the Zebulon Police Dept. shared a photo of their memorial tree with the caption: "Placing your name on our memorial tree hits hard. Ofc. Ryan Hayworth your memory will live on through each of us. We continue to push forward knowing you shine down among us. Rest easy brother, we will take it from here."

Troopers said final charges in the case are pending.

A GoFundMe has been set up for Hayworth's family.

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