NSP identifies trooper killed in head-on crash in western Nebraska

Trooper Jerry Smith, 51, was on duty when he killed in a head-on crash on Highway 26 in Morrill County, in Western Nebraska. (Photo courtesy of the Nebraska State Patrol)
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SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. (WOWT) -- An on-duty Nebraska State Patrol trooper was killed in a head-on crash Thursday morning in western Nebraska.

At 7:45 a.m. local time Thursday, Trooper Jerry Smith, 51, of Scottsbluff was on duty and traveling on Highway 26, in Morrill County, when another vehicle crossed the center line and struck his patrol unit head-on, according to an NSP news release.

He was pronounced deceased at the scene, NSP said.

The driver of the other vehicle was ejected and was also pronounced deceased at the scene. The driver of a third vehicle that was involved in the crash was not seriously injured.

The crash remains under investigation by the Morrill County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the Scottsbluff County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities shared further details of the crash during a press conference Thursday afternoon:

Trooper Smith joined the Nebraska State Patrol in 2014, graduating with the 56th Basic Recruit Class on May 1, 2015. Graduating at the age of 47, he is believed to be the oldest recruit to ever complete NSP’s Basic Recruit Camp.

He was stationed in Scottsbluff as part of Troop E for his entire NSP career.

He is survived by his wife and two adult children.

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

In a written statement, Gov. Pete Ricketts also expressed his sympathies to those in mourning.

“Susanne and I mourn the passing of Trooper Smith, and send our deepest condolences to his family. Our state troopers selflessly put their lives on the line every day. The loss of Trooper Smith will be felt not only by the Nebraska State Patrol, but by the Panhandle and folks across the state. We ask all Nebraskans to join us in praying for his family and community as we honor Trooper Smith’s dedicated service and sacrifice.”

Ricketts ordered all U.S. and Nebraska flags to be flown at half-staff until 5 p.m. on the date of his interment.