Southport Police mourning officer killed after crashing patrol car


SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) —¬†The Southport Police Department is honoring a fallen hero tonight as the Highway Patrol investigates a crash that killed one¬†Southport’s officers.

As clouds linger over Sourthport’s waterfront, a somber feeling lingers throughout the town.

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“I can definitely feel it,” Matthew Mili said.

Just like any other day, Matthew Mili watched several Southport Police officers come into Locals for coffee and breakfast, but this time, something was different.

“When they came in, I could just see it in their faces,” Mili said.

One of those familiar faces was missing.

“Officer Jason Freeman has been with the Southport Police Department for one year,” Police Chief Gary Smith said.

Police Chief Gary Smith said Officer Freeman was killed in a single car crash on Stone Chimney Road in Supply early Sunday morning.

Smith said officer Freeman was not on duty when the crash happened, but he was driving his patrol car. Smith said that is against their policy.

Sgt. P.M. Sanders with the Highway Patrol said Freeman was exceeding the 55 mile per hour speed limit, ran off the road, hit a mailbox then hit a ditch culvert.

“It is pretty heartbreaking,” Smith said.

While the investigation continues, Freeman is being remembered as a hero.

“He was instrumental in saving a life on Ocean Isle in 2014 and that citizen wrote me a letter this morning in condolence,” Smith said.

Smith said freeman also saved a life while he was in Southport.

“When he came to Southport, he was awarded a meritorious award for saving a life downtown on our waterfront,” Smith said.

Smith now asks the community to send thoughts and prayers to freeman’s wife and two children.

“He will definitely be missed,” Mili said. “I only wish I could do more.”

The highway patrol is now waiting for toxicology results.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help officer freeman’s family with expenses.