Authorities have released the name of the second driver who died in a head-on collision that killed Nebraska State Trooper Jerry L. Smith.
On Friday morning, the Nebraska State Patrol and Morrill County Sheriff’s Office said that 28-year-old Derek Lacrete of Lewellen was the driver of the second vehicle.
Around 7:36 a.m. Thursday, 60-year-old MaryJo Decora of Bridgeport was in the westbound lane of Highway 26 outside of Bridgeport, attempting to make a left turn into the Oregon Trail Memorial Cemetery.
Lacrete’s vehicle hit the back, driver’s side of Decora’s vehicle, causing Lacrete’s vehicle to veer into the oncoming lane, colliding head-on with a Nebraska State Patrol 2016 Dodge Charger, driven by 51-year-old Trooper Jerry Smith of Scottsbluff.
Authorities say Lacrete was ejected from the vehicle, and both Trooper Smith and LaCrete died at the scene.
Decora was not seriously injured in the crash.
The Morrill County Sheriff’s Office, Nebraska State Patrol, Morrill County ALS, Scotts Bluff County Sheriff’s Office, Wyoming State Patrol, and fire departments from Bridgeport, Bayard, and Broadwater all responded to the scene.
Funeral services for Trooper Smith are pending. Details will be released when appropriate.
Governor Pete Ricketts has ordered all U.S. and Nebraska flags to fly at half staff until Trooper Smith’s interment.