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Brother and widow of fallen WNC trooper speak out for first time since crash

FOREST CITY, N.C. (FOX Carolina) - For the first time since Trooper John Horton was killed in the line of duty, his loved ones are speaking out about how he is being remembered and how they are coping with his loss in an interview only on FOX.

On Sunday, Back the Blue NC, Inc. donated $92,000 and memorial plaques to the family of fallen North Carolina State Trooper John Horton. The organization presented the donations to the family on Sunday at the State Highway Patrol Forest City Substation. Horton was killed while conducting a traffic stop along High Shoals Church Road on Jan. 3 when his brother, Trooper James “Nick” Horton, accidentally hit him while responding to help.

John Horton, a 15-year veteran of the North Carolina Highway Patrol, is survived by his wife, Ashley Horton, and six children. “We talk a lot about their dad every day,” Ashley Horton told FOX Carolina on Sunday. “He was very present in their lives and he’s a bright spot that every day we miss but it’s it’s neat to see all the memories that our kids have and we talk about everything that we remember about him.” Trooper John Horton was a 15-year Highway Patrol veteran.(Submitted photo)Ashley Horton said this year has been extremely difficult for the family but their children are doing well overall. She said they are taking advantage of resources in the community, including equine therapy and grief therapy from the YMCA.

But above all, Ashley Horton says they are turning to their faith. “My 3-year-old especially likes to tell stories about her daddy and ask about her daddy,” Ashley Horton said. “We assure them that he’s in heaven and we’ll see him again one day.” Nick Horton also said faith is the way he’s finding comfort when trying to cope with the tragic accident.

“The only thing that I can find peace and comfort in is Christ Jesus,” Nick Horton said. “Knowing where John is, knowing I’ll get to see him again one day. That’s the only peace and comfort I can find in it.” Two girls dressed up as Nick and John Horton for Halloween in 2019. The brothers stopped by and took a photo with the girls, allowed them sit in the car with the lights on. Nick Horton said he is taking life day by day, sometimes minute by minute, to get through. “It’s been a very difficult thing because me and John spent so much time together,” Horton said. “We were always together.”

Beyond just growing up together, brothers Nick and John worked together for 11 years. Nick Horton said he is also seeing a counselor provided to him by the North Carolina Highway Patrol, and his church has been a great support.

“God is good and he’s getting us through it,” said Ashley Horton. “We have lots of support here as you can see.” Copyright 2022 WHNS. All rights reserved.

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