BRIDGEPORT, Neb. -- The Nebraska State Patrol says a trooper killed in a head-on crash in western Nebraska had joined the force after a lengthy military career that included being awarded a Bronze Star Medal.
The patrol says trooper 51-year-old Jerry L. Smith was killed in the crash Thursday morning when a vehicle crossed the center line on Highway 26 in Morrill County and the cars collided. The other driver, whose name wasn't released, also was killed.
Smith served in the Army from 1986 to 2011, including two combat tours as part of U.S. operations in Iraq. He earned numerous honors, including the Bronze Star.
At age 47, he was believed to be the oldest person to complete the patrol's Basic Recruit Camp.
Colonel John Bolduc, who heads the patrol, said "Our state has lost a true public servant."