HILLSVILLE, Va. — A Carroll County deputy sheriff was killed in a crash late Thursday night in Hillsville.
According to the Virginia State Police, the crash involved a Carroll County Sheriff’s Office vehicle and a tractor-trailer. The crash occurred shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday at the intersection of U.S. 58 and the Interstate 77 in Carroll County.
“A Carroll County sheriff’s deputy was responding to assist a fellow sheriff’s deputy and Virginia State Police trooper with an ongoing pursuit in Carroll County. The Sheriff’s Deputy was traveling west on Route 58 with emergency lights and sirens activated when it collided with a tractor-trailer making a left turn onto Route 58 from the Interstate 77 Exit 14 ramp,” the Virginia State Police said in a press release early Friday morning.
“The tractor-trailer had the green light and was only traveling approximately 25 mph. The deputy’s vehicle was unable to avoid the tractor-trailer and struck the rear tandem. The sheriff’s deputy died at the scene.”
The sheriff’s deputy was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. The driver of the tractor-trailer, a 59-year-old male from Barren Springs, was not injured in the crash, according to the state police.
The Virginia State Police Crash Reconstruction Team responded to the scene to assist with the ongoing investigation, which is being conducted by the Virginia State Police.
“The pursuit was initiated by a Carroll County sheriff’s deputy at approximately 9:50 p.m., along Route 58 near I-77 Exit 14,” the State Police said in the press release. “The suspect vehicle went through a field, and then the driver and passenger fled on foot. Within minutes both suspects were in custody – one was apprehended by the Carroll County sheriff’s deputy and the other taken into custody by a Virginia State Police Trooper assisting with the pursuit.”
Carroll County Sheriff J.B. Gardner was on the scene in the aftermath of the accident. An emotional Sheriff Gardner gave the details of the officer who gave his all in the service of his duties.
“It is with an extremely heavy heart that I must announce the death of Carroll County Sheriff’s Deputy Curtis Allen Bartlett. Deputy Bartlett, 32, did not survive the line-of-duty crash he was involved in late Thursday evening, March 9, 2017,” Gardner said.
Gardner said Bartlett joined the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office in June 2013 and was highly respected by his peers for his dedication to duty and passion for public service. Bartlett had extensive experience in private security and served his country as an infantry soldier with the U.S. Army from November 2004 to July 2007.
Prior to joining the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Curtis also served a year as a patrol officer in Albemarle, N.C.
Gardner said Bartlett earned instructor certifications through the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) for firearms, Taser, and fitness training. Curtis was a certified K9 handler through the US Department of Defense. He was a 2013 graduate of the New River Criminal Justice Training Academy in Dublin and a graduate of Galax High School.
“Having become a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, Curtis was recognized for his commitment to health, nutrition and fitness, and strove to motivate others within our Sheriff’s Office and other agencies to work towards healthier lifestyles,” Gardner said. “He was also an accomplished pilot and in 2013 was recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for achieving FAA Airmen Certification.”
Bartlett is survived by his parents, Sam and Linda Bartlett of Galax, and four siblings.
“I ask that everyone keep Deputy Bartlett’s family in their hearts and prayers during this most difficult of times. His loss is being felt by everyone within his ‘family’ at the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, and our neighboring police agencies in Galax and Hillsville and the state police,” Gardner said. “Funeral arrangements are pending at this time.”
At the scene of the crash, traffic was still blocked in both the east and westbound lanes of U.S. 58 as of 2 a.m., and the I-77 exit ramp was closed. Police said the closures, and resultant detours for motorists, could last into the morning commute hours.