'UNDOUBTEDLY SAVED LIVES': North Carolina trooper uses his own car to stop suspected drunk driver

Trooper Cody Thao has been with the department for less than a year and had no previous law enforcement experience

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A North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper is being credited for saving lives by putting his own life on the line to stop a suspected drunk driver from entering an interstate going the wrong way.

North Carolina State Highway Patrol said Trooper Cody Thao used his own patrol car as a barrier to stop the driver who was speeding up an exit ramp the wrong way. The dramatic crash was caught on dashcam video.

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Police said Trooper Thao was called in to help with a pursuit in the early morning hours of April 8. Just as the trooper arrived, the pursuit arrived onto the I-40 eastbound ramp to Rock Quarry Road in Wake County. The suspect started driving the wrong way on the ramp.

The video shows Trooper Thao intentionally drive his own car into the path of the suspected drunk driver to stop him from entering the interstate going the wrong way. Amazingly, the trooper was not injured.

North Carolina State Highway Patrol Trooper Cody Thao used his own car to stop a suspected drunk driver from entering an interstate going the wrong way.

North Carolina State Highway Patrol Trooper Cody Thao used his own car to stop a suspected drunk driver from entering an interstate going the wrong way. (North Carolina State Highway Patrol)

"I could not be prouder of Trp. Thao and his quick decision to stop the wrong way driver, his actions most undoubtedly saved lives," Colonel Freddy L. Johnson, Jr., commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, said in a statement. "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." 

Trooper Thao told Fox 12 he didn't even think about how he could be seriously injured until afterward.

"Once I saw the vehicle, I just decided to stop the chase right there," Thao said. "This is what we signed up to do, this is what we agreed to do."

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

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A North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper stopped a suspected drunk driver from getting on an interstate going the wrong way by blocking him with his own car.

A North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper stopped a suspected drunk driver from getting on an interstate going the wrong way by blocking him with his own car. (North Carolina State Highway Patrol)

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Thao has been with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol for less than a year.

"Before that, I actually worked at a Tractor Supply," he said. "I don’t have any prior experience with law enforcement. I’ve always had a servant’s heart, and I’ve always wanted to help people."

The suspect, Joshua Ray Bibey, 26, was arrested and charged with driving while impaired.