Two charged in police officer’s death

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A Rocky Mount Police Department patrol car is decorated with a blue band in memory of Rocky Mount Senior Police Officer Christopher Driver on Sunday at the Rocky Mount Police Department.

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Staff Writer

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Two men accused of illegally towing a tree-trimming truck have been charged in the death of a Rocky Mount police officer who died late Saturday when he collided with the broken down commercial vehicle on South Church Street.

Derrick Sheffield, 46, and Timmy Dixon, 38, have been charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle in the death of 27-year-old Senior Police Officer Christopher Driver.

Driver was traveling along South Church Street, responding to a call of a tree truck possibly being stolen. At around 10:35 p.m. Saturday, his patrol car hit the tree-trimming bucket truck left in the roadway.

The tree truck had flashers, but the lenses were in such poor condition the lights could barely be seen, said Sgt. David Finch of the State Highway Patrol, which is investigating the crash.

Prior to the crash, Sheffield had left the truck in the roadway to find more help. Dixon was at the scene when the collision occurred, but he left and never returned, said Patrol First Sgt. Michael Baker.

The tree truck is labeled as belonging to Hall's Tree Service. The listed phone number for the company is no longer in service. No one could be located at a parking area across from the crash with other trucks labeled Hall's Tree Service.

The tree truck was being towed to that lot when it had trouble and couldn't be towed any further, according to state troopers.

Sheffield and Dixon didn't call 911, Baker said.

In addition to the misdemeanor death charge, Sheffield was also charged with leaving a vehicle unattended or unsecure in the roadway. Dixon was charged with felony hit-and-run by leaving the scene of a crash.

Sheffield posted a $5,000 bond; Dixon posted $7,000. Both have been released from the Nash County jail.

Driver had been with the department since February 2013. He was promoted to the rank of senior police officer in August 2017.

Interim Police Chief Willie Williams said Driver was a community-orientated hard worker.

"Driver was an excellent, respected officer," Williams said Monday. "We will miss him."