Raleigh cop recalls close friendship with Knightdale officer killed in I-540 crash
KNIGHTDALE, NC (WNCN) – People continued to stop at the Knightdale Police Department on Monday to show support and express condolences after the department lost one of its officers in the line of duty on Sunday .
Constable Ryan Hayworth has only been with the department for three months. Raleigh Police Captain Andy Murr went to church with him and his family – they were close.
Murr was also working and responded to the accident.
âHe was just doing his job,â Murr said.
Hayworth dedicated his life to serving, first in the United States Army, then in the North Carolina National Guard and more recently in the Knightdale Police Department.
âHe was just very excited, I think the last time I heard he told me he was 10 days away from training,â he said.
Murr knew Hayworth as Ryan. Hayworth was the witness at Murr’s daughter’s wedding.
“Recently I tried to tell him, I’m like ‘you’re 23 now, you don’t have to call me Mr. Andy anymore.’ And he would say, ‘yes Mr. Andy,’ Murr explained. “He liked to joke – he was kind of a ham. He liked to make fun of him sometimes but also, he liked to talk about how beautiful his hair was. He had it. many good days with the hair, âhe added.
Murr said the last day and a half was a mixture of laughter and crying.
Hayworth was responding to a single vehicle crash on the side of I-540 early Sunday morning. He was with a training officer Cody Hagler.
They were on the side of the road with their SUV’s blue lights on when a driver slammed into them in the back, knocking one cruiser into the other.
âI saw the severity of the accident and everything that was going on,â Murr said.
Murr knew that an officer had been seriously injured, but he didn’t realize it was Hayworth until after he retrieved his equipment from the road.
âI looked down and saw a radio battery and its name was on it,â he said. “It’s like nothing I’ve ever felt.”
Soon he learned that Hayworth was dead. He knew he had to be the one to tell his family about it.
Hayworth’s father – Tim Hayworth – is a former Zebulon Police Chief.
âThey’re not mad at God, they’re wondering why that had to be Ryan – like we (too) do,â he said.
The soldiers said alcohol was a factor. Charges against the driver – Dedric Privette – are pending. The other three people involved, including Hagler, remain in the hospital.
The Town of Knightdale will honor Hayworth at a candlelight vigil Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Knightdale Station Park.