Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office escorts daughter of fallen deputy to first day of school

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TARBORO, N.C. (WNCN) — The daughter of an Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office deputy who died during a pursuit in March 2018 was escorted to her first day of school by the sheriff’s office on Wednesday morning.

The sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook, “Because Deputy David Manning (839) gave his all, we pledge to give all we have in protecting his offspring, Miss Izabella Manning (839 1/2). On 08/28/2019, we escorted her to her classroom on her first day of school; as we wish Deputy Manning could have.”

Manning, 24, was killed when he was involved in a crash after turning around to pursue someone violating driving laws on March 11, Sheriff Clee Atkinson, Jr., said at the time.

Manning had worked for the sheriff’s office for about four months at the time of his death.

Manning’s cruiser collided with a Chevrolet Silverado. He was headed south on N.C. Highway 122/111 near Pinetops at about 6:15 p.m., the sheriff’s office had said earlier. The Chevrolet was headed north.

The vehicle Manning was trying to pull over, a Nissan Altima, crashed into a ditch about a fifth of a mile from the scene of the fatal collision. The driver ran off, but later turned themselves in.

Manning died at the scene, Atkinson said, and the two occupants of the pickup truck suffered “serious to non-life threatening injuries.”

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Hundreds of law enforcement officers from across the state made their way to Edgecombe County for Manning’s funeral on March 18.

Those who knew 24-year-old David Manning say he dreamed of becoming a law enforcement officer since he was a child.

“When I first met him he was smiling at the same time and he said, ‘Sheriff, I wanna come work for you in Edgecombe County.’ So I gave him an opportunity,” said Atkinson.

“I’m honored that I gave him that opportunity to be one of our team members.”

“Sometimes God picks the youngest and the strongest flower so I don’t argue with that at all,” Atkinson said. “It’s through God’s will and let his will be done.”

Four people were eventually arrested in connection Manning’s death.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol asked for the Alcohol Law Enforcement’s help in the investigation into the fatal crash.

ALE special agents gathered evidence at Melanie’s Place, an ABC permitted business in Tarboro, officials said.

That investigation revealed Richard Howard Walters, 33, of Pinetops, spent six hours drinking at the establishment on the day of the accident.

Officials said Walters crash his vehicle just .02 miles from where Manning crashed.

“We obtained evidence that Walters purchased and consumed the equivalent of 16 malt beverages before driving away from Melanie’s Place,” said Eric Swain, special agent in charge of ALE’s Greenville district. “Even though Walters was in an intoxicated state, he was served malt beverages until the bar closed.”

Melanie Johnson, of Melanie’s Place and another employee, Cindy Mendenhall, are said to have “tried to minimize the truth of Walters’ intoxication.”

Both were charged with obstruction of justice.

Walters was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving while impaired.

Kristen Harrell, 35, of Pinetops, was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Mendenhall, 34, of Tarboro, was charged with common law obstruction of justice, sale to intoxicated, and aid and abet DWI.

Johnson, 47, of Tarboro, was charged with common law obstruction of justice and allow violation to occur.

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