WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — Forsyth County Sheriff Deputy Auston Smith Reudelhuber, affectionately known as ‘Rudy’ to friends, was tragically lost in the line of duty during a devastating crash early Saturday morning.

Deputy Reudelhuber was on duty, driving his patrol vehicle along the 5200 block of North NC 150 in Davidson County when a head-on collision with a box truck occurred. Despite medical attention, Deputy Reudelhuber succumbed to his injuries.

The driver of the box truck, identified as 24-year-old William Benton of Lexington is now facing multiple charges in connection with the incident, including misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, reckless driving, and driving left of center.

A patrol vehicle has been placed in front of the detention center on 201 North Church Street in Winston-Salem to allow the community to mourn. Any cards and notes left on the vehicle will be gathered and shared with the Reudelhuber family.

Among those visiting the memorial is Jacqueline Bridges, a Forsyth County resident, who expressed the sentiment shared by many: “It says he was somebody. He wasn’t anybody. He was somebody. He was a public servant, and he deserves this.”

“When you’re an officer, you have to really love it and dedicate your life to helping others, and I know Rudy was like that. I know Officer Rudy would have been like this, and I just wish I could have known him,” Kay Bigelow, another community member, said.

Deputy Reudelhuber’s dedication to public service was evident throughout his life journey.

A graduate of West Davidson High School, Deputy Reudelhuber served his country for six years in the United States Army. Following his military service, he pursued his passion for law enforcement, graduating from the Davidson-Davie Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training Program.

Deputy Reudelhuber would then get three years of experience at the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, and then later join the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office in March 2021.

Community members, familiar and unfamiliar, came to the memorial to leave sentiments and reflect on the impact of Deputy Reudelhuber’s life.

“We understand that some officers are good or bad, but this is one of those situations where you put your personal or political feelings aside because this was a precious life that was lost,” Shawn Everett said.

Deputy Sheriff II Auston Smith Reudelhuber (FCSO)
Deputy Sheriff II Auston Smith Reudelhuber (FCSO)

Davidson County Sheriff Richie Simmons, who knew Deputy Reudelhuber well during his time working for his office, shared his thoughts on the fallen deputy:

“He was very dedicated to protecting the citizens of Davidson County. He was a friend to all and a very valuable member. We were very saddened by this tremendous loss to the family of law enforcement. He was a great soldier in the United States Army and an awesome member in law enforcement. He will be greatly missed.”

Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby F. Kimbrough Jr. released a video expressing his condolences and gratitude for the community outreach and support. In the video, Sheriff Kimbrough remarked on the grief felt by him and the entire sheriff’s department.

Sheriff Kimbrough released the following statement earlier Saturday morning:

“It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of the passing of one of our own. Deputy Sheriff Auston Reudelhuber was killed this morning in a fatal car crash. We are asking for prayers for the Reudelhuber family as well as for our FCSO Family. Together we stand and together we will get through this, with the support from our community.”

Deputy Reudelhuber leaves behind his wife, Rachel, and their two young daughters. The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office has organized a fundraiser on GoFundMe to support the Reudelhuber family.