JOHNSTON COUNTY, N.C. - A newly-released dashcam video showed a North Carolina state trooper putting himself in the path of an oncoming wrong-way driver to avoid a bigger disaster.
The State Highway Patrol said just after midnight on April 8, troopers responded to a call about a wrong-way vehicle traveling from Johnston County into Wake County.
Trooper Cody Thao arrived and traveled and exited onto the Interstate 40 eastbound ramp to Rock Quarry Road. The suspect then drove the wrong way on the exit ramp and Thao drove his patrol car right into the suspect’s path, causing a crash but preventing the suspect from getting on the interstate the wrong way.
Authorities said Thao did not sustain any injuries and has been on the Wake County troop force for one year.
Patrol Sgt. Marcus Bethea said troopers don’t train for such situations. Bethea said Thao reacted in the moment and made the decision to use his vehicle, and ultimately himself, to stop the driver and prevent someone from being hurt and killed.
"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 State Highway Patrol, said in a news release. "His willingness to put himself in harms 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."
Trooper Thao told a news outlet he didn't even think about how he could be seriously injured until afterward.
"Once I saw the vehicle, I just decided to stop the chase right there," Thao said. "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."
The suspected wrong-way driver was identified as 26-year-old Joshua Bibey or Raleigh. He has been charged with driving while impaired and was taken to a local hospital with nearby injuries.
The dashcam video was released after a superior court judge signed a petition under state law.
The Associated Press and FOX News contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.