WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - When David Wright first met Trooper Kevin Conner four years ago, the 11-year veteran of the N.C. Highway Patrol put him in handcuffs and charged him with driving while impaired.
“I was under the influence of narcotics and alcohol, ran a truck into a ditch and he was the trooper on the scene,” Wright said. “Naturally, he took me to the jail in Whiteville.”
Like many on the wrong side of the law, Wright, a self-proclaimed recovering addict, initially disliked Conner. But his perception of the law enforcement officer quickly changed.
“As soon as he got me handcuffed and in the car, he was more a more caring person, he was human then to me,” Wright explained. “He was talking to me on the way (to jail) about ‘you can beat this thing at your age, this is good, consider this tough love.’”
That relationship developed into a friendship of sorts, lasting beyond Wright’s court case.
“Went to court and saw him after that, and I had been going to (addiction recovery) meetings during the time between the day of the accident and the court date, and I told him ‘you did me a favor,’” Wright said. “And I’ve seen him since then, and it’s 'how you doing, doing good?'”
So, when Wright found out Wednesday morning that Conner had been killed by the driver of a vehicle he had pulled over for speeding, a wave of grief washed over him.
“It’s emotional, he more or less saved my life (by arresting me), but also showing the human side, the caring side of him too,” Wright said, holding back tears.
“My prayers and thoughts go out to his family,” he added. “We’re in a crazy world.”