BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The North Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating a car accident involving a Southport police officer that left one person dead.
According to Highway Patrol, Joshua Wesley Gaughf, a Southport police officer, was headed north going toward Supply when he was rear-ended by a Chevy Tahoe sending him head-on into a minivan. The minivan flipped onto its right side killing its driver, 74 year-old Jack Ferguson Kirkland.
“Just a very tragic accident,” said Kirkland’s neighbor and Southport police officer Mike Simmons. “Something that you just don’t expect to happen, it happened.”
Gaughf and Katherine Hewett Cribb, the driver of the Tahoe, were sent to New Hanover Regional Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. Neither alcohol nor drugs played a role in the accident.
Hospital officials say Cribb was treated and released from New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Highway Patrol says she is being charged with a misdemeanor death by vehicle. Officer Gaughf is still at the hospital and is in fair condition.
As for Kirkland, neighbors say tragedy took a good person and even better friend Sunday night.
“He was a wonderful guy,” said neighbor Joe Amoroso. “He always knew what the weather was going to be. He was looking forward to spring, he said we made it through the winter and he said a couple more weeks it’ll be spring and he was really looking forward to it. I’m going to miss him.”
Co-workers of his at Lowe’s in Southport say they will miss his smile around the store.
“Just a great guy. I’ve never heard anything bad about him,” said Joe Carson, a manager at Lowe’s. “It was great working with him and we’re like a family here at Lowe’s and we’re going to really miss him a lot.”
Friends say there will be a service for Kirkland on Wednesday.