September 21, 2015- Prince George County, VA
Trooper Nathan-Michael W. Smith, 27, of Hanover County, succumbed to fatal injuries sustained while rushing to render aid in a fatal wreck in Dinwiddie County. Trooper Smith is the department’s 61st sworn employee to be killed in the line of duty.
The fallen trooper was responding to an accident involving a 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck that had run off the road and struck a guard rail while travelling east on U.S. 460. The driver of that vehicle, Donald W. Shaw, 65, of Montgomery, La., did not survive.
While en route to the scene of the accident, Trooper Smith lost control of his Ford Taurus patrol car, which caused him to run off the left side of the Interstate 295 exit ramp to Interstate 95 in Prince George. The cruiser overturned and struck several trees before coming to a rest.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Trooper Smith was flown by Medflight helicopter to VCU Medical Center in Richmond, where he died later that morning.
Trooper Smith, a trooper since June 2014, is survived by a wife and two children.
For the heroic men and women who serve as public safety officers, the danger of being killed in the line of duty is an everyday reality. In recognition of their sacrifice, the state of Virginia provides multiple forms of assistance to fallen officers’ surviving dependents.
The Virginia Death Benefit Payment – funded by the Virginia Department of the Treasury – provides that effective January 1, 2006, the beneficiary of a deceased law-enforcement officer whose death occurred while in the line of duty as the direct or proximate result of the performance of duty is entitled to receive the sum of $100,000, in gratitude for and in recognition of his sacrifice on behalf of the people of the Commonwealth.
Additionally, Virginia law provides for continued health insurance coverage to the surviving spouse and/or dependents of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. Children of fallen officers are also entitled to free undergraduate tuition at any Virginia public post-secondary institution.
If your loved one is a public safety officer killed in the line of duty, the experienced workers’ compensation benefit attorneys at ReidGoodwin are here to help. Contact the firm today to schedule a legal evaluation.