A North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper is being heralded as a hero for putting himself in danger to stop a suspected drunk driver. The brave and selfless actions of the state trooper may have saved lives.
In the early morning hours of April 8, several police officers were in pursuit of a driver accused of driving while intoxicated. North Carolina State Highway Patrol said Trooper Cody Thao joined the effort to stop an alleged drunk driver to prevent innocent people from being harmed or killed by the erratic driver.
The suspect – Joshua Ray Bibey – was speeding up an exit ramp in the wrong traffic direction. Thao was coming off the exit ramp in the correct direction. With only seconds to make a decision, Thao unselfishly and gallantly steered his police cruiser towards the oncoming vehicle. Thao’s patrol car violently collided with the 26-year-old suspect’s vehicle – which appears to be a pickup truck. Police dashcam video shows Thao’s cruiser spin off the road after slamming into the vehicle in Wake County.
Thao intentionally drove into the DUI suspect, knowing that the driver was speeding toward the interstate exit – where other cars could have been exiting.
Bibey, of Raleigh, was arrested and charged with driving while impaired.
“I could not be prouder of Trp. Thao and his quick decision to stop the wrong-way driver, his actions most undoubtedly saved lives,” Colonel Freddy L. Johnson, Jr. – commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol – said in a statement. “His willingness to put himself in harm’s way is representative of the lifesaving work our members do each day. Placing others before ourselves is not just a saying amongst the law enforcement profession, it’s a reality of what we do for the betterment of the communities we serve.”
Thao told WTVD, “Once I saw the vehicle, I just decided to stop the chase right there. This is what we signed up to do, this is what we agreed to do.”
He added, “All the credit goes out to the other troopers who inspire me on a daily basis especially here in Wake County.”
Thao has only been with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol for less than a year.
“Before that, I actually worked at a Tractor Supply,” he said. “I don’t have any prior experience with law enforcement. I’ve always had a servant’s heart, and I’ve always wanted to help people.”
There was a very similar incident in March, when a Florida state trooper put herself in harm’s way by purposely navigating her police cruiser into an oncoming driver who was allegedly drunk.