Highway dedicated to late state trooper

By DEMETRIUS THOMPSON,

Nearly 60 years after he lost his life in the line of duty on a stretch of Hwy. 80, state trooper Daniel E. Smith’s memory will now be forever remembered.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation and the Mississippi Highway Patrol unveiled two signs on Tuesday, Nov. 28, renaming the stretch of the highway as the Trooper Daniel E. Smith Memorial Highway.

Smith died in a car accident on the night of Nov. 7, 1959, while on duty on the same stretch of Hwy. 80.

Several of Smith’s family and his former fellow state troopers attended the ceremony including his widow, Patty Fulgham, his oldest son, Joe, his daughter, Kay Stewart and his grandson, Daniel, who was named after his grandfather.

Joe, who was only 9 years old when his father died, led the group in prayer before the unveiling of the signs.

“It’s a very special occasion to us to honor my father. My sister, my brother and I will always remember what he did for the state of Mississippi and that fact that he made the ultimate sacrifice,” Joe said.

MDOT District 5 Engineer Brian Ratliff said the project was a joint effort between MDOT and the Highway Patrol and was well deserved.

“It was long overdue. The troopers and all of the patrolmen not only are they protecting the citizens’ lives they’re protecting the MDOT workers’ lives,” Ratliff said. “And any way we can show our support to them for making our job safer, we’re all for it.”

The Smith family lived in Newton on Rogers Street at the time of Trooper Smith’s death. The stretch of Hwy. 80 is between Newton and Hickory.