Crime & Courts

Nebraska trooper dies in double-fatal head-on highway crash, state patrol says

Trooper Jerry Smith
Trooper Jerry Smith Nebraska State Patrol

A Nebraska state trooper was killed in the line of duty after a double-fatal crash Thursday morning.

Trooper Jerry L. Smith, badge No. 373, died in the wreck, the Nebraska State Patrol said in a news release.

“This is a tragic day for the Nebraska State Patrol”, said NSP Col. John Bolduc in a statement. “A family has lost a husband and a father. Our troopers have lost a colleague and a friend. Our state has lost a true public servant.”

Smith was on duty and driving on Highway 26 in Morrill County when at around 7:45 a.m. “another vehicle crossed the center line and struck his patrol unit head-on,” the state patrol said. Smith was pronounced dead at the scene, as well as the driver of the other vehicle, who was ejected.

The other driver was not identified in the release. A third vehicle was involved in the crash, and its driver was not seriously injured. The sheriff’s offices of Morrill County and Scotts Bluff Count are investigating the wreck.

“Trooper Smith was doing what he did every day, diligently patrolling Nebraska’s roadways,” Bolduc said. “This is a sad reminder of the dangers our law enforcement professionals face daily. Our prayers are with Trooper Smith’s family.”

Smith, 51, of Scottsbluff, had joined the Nebraska State Patrol in 2014. Before joining the state patrol, Smith served in the United State Army from 1986 to 2011, earning a bronze star after two combat tours in Iraq. The state patrol said he is believed to be the oldest recruit to complete the basic recruit camp, which he did at age 47. He was stationed in Scottsbluff in the Nebraska panhandle.

He is survived by his wife and two adult children.