Fund set up for family of Smith County deputy killed when struck by vehicle
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A Smith County deputy died after a multi-vehicle crash shut down Frankston Highway early Friday.
Sheriff Larry Smith said the deputy died at the hospital at around 6 a.m. Friday. Sheriff Smith identified the deputy as Lorenzo Bustos. The deputy who was injured in the line of duty has been identified as 39-year-old Michael Skinner. He was treated and released at UT Health-Tyler.
Smith said at approximately 11:50 p.m. Thursday, two Smith County deputies were on patrol in the 14000 block of State Highway 155 South and had conducted a traffic stop. The two deputies had place both occupants of the vehicle into the back of the patrol unit. One deputy was in the front passenger seat operating the onboard computer and radio while the other deputy was behind the unit.
Smith said at approximately 12:50 a.m., the deputy in the patrol unit radioed that there had been a crash involving the second officer and a vehicle. Smith said the deputy received life-threatening injuries as he was hit by a 2017 full size Mercedes Benz.
The deputy in the passenger’s seat was injured along with one of the detained individuals in the patrol unit. The slightly injured deputy exited the unit to check on the driver of the patrol unit. The deputy had been hit at a moderate speed and was launched under the patrol unit.
Smith said the slightly injured deputy removed the severely injured deputy from under the patrol unit and discovered he had apparently suffered head injuries.
The deputy was taken to the hospital where he later died. The driver of the Mercedes, identified as Daniel Nyabuto, was arrested and is charged with intoxication assault, which will be upgraded to intoxication manslaughter, according to the press release. A passenger in the car was also charged with public intoxication. Bond for Nyabuto, 21, of Grand Prairie, is set at $750,000.
The slightly injured deputy was treated and released from a Tyler hospital.
Smith said Bustos died in an ICU unit with family and coworkers by his side.
His body was escorted to Dallas by Smith County deputies, where an autopsy will be performed.
Smith said Bustos was in the “ghost phase” of training, which is the final stage of training. Today was the last day of that phase of training. Smith said Bustos was married and father of three children, aged 8, 5 and 4.
Smith said patrol deputies are very shook up over the incident.
“He became very loved by his coworkers,” Smith said.
Smith said criminal investigators are filling in for patrol today.
“The captain and myself will patrol if we have to,” Smith said.
Governor Greg Abbott has approved a request for flags in Smith County to be lowered to half-staff in honor of Bustos. Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran released the following statement:
“I am deeply saddened by the sudden and tragic death of a Smith County Sheriff’s Deputy, who died while in the line of duty protecting our citizens,” Moran said. “I cannot express how deep my sympathy is for the family, and for the law enforcement community who mourn his passing most deeply. We issue fervent prayers of comfort during this time, and stand ready to do all possible for the family and for the Sheriff’s Office.”
Chapel Hill High School identified Bustos as a 2011 graduate.
“Our hearts are deeply saddened by the loss of Lorenzo Bustos, a Chapel Hill High School 2011 graduate, who lost his life serving our community as a Smith County Sheriff’s deputy early this morning,” a post on Facebook from the school said.
If you would like to donate to the family of the fallen deputy, click here and choose Lorenzo Bustos Fund on the dropdown.
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