BRIDGEPORT — The Morrill County Sheriff’s is able to release additional details regarding the crash that claimed the life of Nebraska State Trooper Jerry L. Smith, #373, on Thursday, June 20, 2019.
At approximately, 7:36 a.m., the Morrill County Sheriff’s Office received several 911 calls in reference to a three-vehicle crash west of Bridgeport on Highway 26, near mile marker 59. The 911 calls indicated that one of the vehicles involved was that of a Nebraska State Trooper. Sheriff’s deputies arrived on scene at 7:39 a.m. MDT.
The crash occurred when a 2002 Dodge Ram, driven by MaryJo Decora, 60, of Bridgeport, was stopped on the highway waiting to make a left turn into the Oregon Trail Memorial Cemetery. Decora’s vehicle was struck from behind by a 2005 Mazda Tribute, driven by Derek Lacrete, 28, of Lewellen. 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 Trooper Jerry Smith, 51, of Scottsbluff.
Trooper Smith was pronounced deceased on the scene. Lacrete was ejected from his vehicle during the crash and was also pronounced deceased on the scene.
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.
The crash is still under investigation by the Morrill County Sheriff’s Office with reconstruction assistance from the Scotts Bluff County Sheriff’s Office.
Funeral services for Trooper Smith are pending. Details will be released when appropriate.