'I've always had a servant's heart': State trooper talks about action to stop wrong-way driver

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Thursday, May 5, 2022
State trooper talks about heroic action to stop wrong-way driver
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"I've always had a servant's heart," State trooper Cody Thao said. He swerved into the path of a wrong-way driver, potentially saving the lives of others on I-40 in Wake County.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Cody Thao doesn't want the praise for what he did.

But it's clear his action saved lives.

"All the credit goes out to the other troopers who inspire me on a daily basis especially here in Wake County," he said.

Thao works for the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

He was out on patrol last month when Johnston County sheriff's deputies were chasing a car.

They put out a call on the radio and also let authorities in Wake County know what was happening.

Thao was heading east on I-40 and got off at Exit 300, which is Rock Quarry Road. He saw flashing lights in the distance and before he knew it, the suspected drunk driver's car was coming the wrong way down the ramp.

In a split second, he thought to angle his car and let the driver ram into him. That stopped the chase and authorities managed to apprehend the suspect after he tried to flee on foot.

Thao escaped injury in the collision.

"It could've turned into exactly the same type of collision that happened a little further east," Thao said.

Thao is referring to the wrong-way crash in Johnston County weeks earlier. Three people were killed after a driver in a Toyota Tundra crashed into a Dodge Durango. The driver of the Toyota had gotten on I-40 going the wrong way.

"I've always had a servant's heart, and I've always wanted to help people," said Thao, who left his job at a Tractor Supply to become a state trooper nearly a year ago.

The Highway Patrol released video of the incident earlier Wednesday.

"I could not be prouder of Trooper Thao and his quick decision to stop the wrong-way driver, his actions most undoubtedly saved lives," said Col. Freddy L. Johnson, Jr., commander of the State Highway Patrol. "His willingness to put himself in harm's way is representative of the lifesaving work our members do each day. Placing others before ourselves is not just a saying amongst the law enforcement profession, it's a reality of what we do for the betterment of the communities we serve."

The suspect, Joshua Ray Bibey, 26, of Raleigh, was charged with driving while impaired. He was taken to WakeMed for evaluation after the crash.