'I've always had a servant's heart': NC state trooper talks about action to stop wrong-way driver

The crash stopped the chase and authorities managed to apprehend the suspect after he tried to flee the scene on foot.

ByJosh Chapin WABC logo
Thursday, May 5, 2022
State trooper talks about heroic action to stop wrong-way driver
"I've always had a servant's heart," State trooper Cody Thao said. He swerved into the path of a wrong-way driver, potentially saving the lives of others on I-40 in Wake County.

RALEIGH, North Carolina -- North Carolina State Highway Patrol Trooper Cody Thao doesn't want the praise for what he did. But it's clear his action saved lives.

"All the credit goes out to the other troopers who inspire me on a daily basis especially here in Wake County," he said.

Thao was out on patrol last month while sheriff's deputies in a neighboring county were chasing a car.

They put out a call on the radio and also let authorities in nearby Wake County know what was happening.

Thao was heading east on Interstate 40 when he saw flashing lights in the distance and before he knew it, the suspected drunk driver's car was coming the wrong way down the ramp.

In a split second, he thought to angle his car and let the driver crash into him. That stopped the chase and authorities managed to apprehend the suspect after he tried to flee the scene on foot.

Thao was not injured in the collision.

"I've always had a servant's heart, and I've always wanted to help people," said Thao, who left his job at a Tractor Supply store to become a state trooper nearly a year ago.

The Highway Patrol released video of the incident on Wednesday.

"I could not be prouder of Trooper Thao and his quick decision to stop the wrong-way driver, his actions most undoubtedly saved lives," said Col. Freddy L. Johnson, Jr., commander of the State Highway Patrol. "His willingness to put himself in harm's way is representative of the lifesaving work our members do each day. Placing others before ourselves is not just a saying amongst the law enforcement profession, it's a reality of what we do for the betterment of the communities we serve."

The suspect, Joshua Ray Bibey, 26, of Raleigh, was charged with driving while impaired.