Driver charged in crash that killed Knightdale police officer | The Wake Weekly
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Driver charged in crash that killed Knightdale police officer

Posted on November 23, 2021

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Residents placed flowers and cards in remembrance of Officer Ryan Hayworth on a patrol vehicle outside the Knightdale Public Safety building.

Amber Revels-Stocks | Wake Weekly file photo

Residents placed flowers and cards in remembrance of Officer Ryan Hayworth on a patrol vehicle outside the Knightdale Public Safety building.

KNIGHTDALE — A Knightdale man faces seven charges connected to a fatal wreck on Interstate 540 that killed Knightdale police Officer Ryan Hayworth and sent three others to the hospital.

Dedric Romero Privette, 40, is charged with two counts each of felony causing serious injury by vehicle and felony failure to move over causing serious injury or death and one count each of felony causing death by vehicle, aggressive driving and driving while impaired, according to public records.

Privette is scheduled to appear in Wake County court on Dec. 6, according to court documents.

Hayworth, 23, was killed on Oct. 17 when Privette’s vehicle struck a marked Ford Explorer with its emergency lights on. Hayworth had been with the department for three months, but had lived in the area for years, according to the department. He was the oldest son of former Zebulon police chief Timothy Hayworth and had served in the Army.

Training officer Cody A. Hagler, 25, of Knightdale, was seriously injured in the wreck as was Michael Routh Melugin Jr., 45, of Cary.

On Oct. 17, Hayworth and Hagler stopped on Interstate 540 to help Melugin, who had been involved in a single car crash, according to the N.C. Highway Patrol. Both vehicles were stopped in the far-right lane of I-540 East, and the patrol SUV had its emergency lights on.

Privette, driving a black 2011 Mercedes-Benz S550, approached the site heading east. He allegedly failed to reduce speed and move over for the emergency vehicle, according to the Highway Patrol. The Mercedes-Benz struck the SUV, pushing it into the back of the other vehicle, officers said.

Privette was still hospitalized as of Monday, and arrest warrants hadn’t yet been served, Knightdale Police Chief Lawrence Capps said.

Privette’s blood alcohol content was 0.18 at the time of the crash, according to the crash report. The legal limit is 0.08.

Knightdale held a vigil in Hayworth’s honor at Knightdale Station Park on Oct. 20. Hundreds of people attended the service.

At that vigil, Capps said Hayworth lived his life by two commandments: to love God and to love his neighbor. Capps also challenged his officers and Knightdale residents to be better people in Hayworth’s memory.

The department dedicated its annual Shop with a Cop to Hagler’s memory this year.

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