RANKIN, Texas (AP) — A West Texas sheriff's deputy has been laid to rest after he was killed in a car crash while rushing to a reported tank fire.
Upton County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Ray Smith died at the scene of the head-on collision early Friday with a tractor-trailer rig on Texas 340, 10 miles north of Rankin and 45 miles south of Midland.
Dozens of law enforcement officials from across West Texas converged on the Upton County Park Building in Rankin for Tuesday's funeral. Upton County Sheriff's Deputy Dusty Kilgore assured Smith's wife and four children that "the department will always be there for them."
According to a Texas Department of Public Safety accident report the tractor-trailer rig was in the oncoming lane, while the 44-year-old deputy was driving without his seatbelt buckled.