Fellow troopers say VSP officer who died in crash left lasting impact on their lives

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WRIC – HENRICO COUNTY (WRIC) — It's been a heartbreaking week for members of the Virginia State Police family.

On Monday, one of their own, Trooper Nathan-Michael Smith died while he was responding to an emergency call.

"When I was notified of his passing, it was crushing," said Trooper Justin Cowan as he recalls the moment he found out Trooper Smith had passed away.

Trooper Smith was part of the State Police family for fewer than two years, but his colleagues say the 27-year-old has left a lasting impact on their lives.

"It didn't matter what the day was, how the day was going, the minute he walked into the office he had a smile on his face," says Trooper Hector Jimenez, who also worked with Trooper Smith.

"He was a lot more laid back. When you first talk to these guys they are very much yes sir,  no sir, and he was right off the back, call me Smithy," recalls Senior Trooper James A Shehan.

Trooper Shehan and his wife Jessica Shehan, also a trooper, had an especially close bond with Trooper Smith and his young family. Trooper Smith was married, and had two young children. The two families often spent time together.

Monday morning, Trooper Jessica Shehan was traveling behind Trooper Smith moments before he lost control of his cruiser.

"I just lost sight of him briefly, and when I came around the corner, I saw the car and I crawled inside of the car to try to keep him calm until we could get everyone there," says Trooper Jessica Smith. "That was actually the last thing that he said to me before he got on the helicopter was to make sure I call Jenn his wife and that she would be at the hospital and I promised him that she would."

Visitation for Trooper Smith will be held on Friday, September 25, 2015, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at St. Paul's Baptist Church, 4247 Creighton Road Henrico, VA  23223.

The funeral service will be on Saturday, September 26, 2015, at 2:00 p.m., also at St. Paul's Baptist Church, 4247 Creighton Road Henrico, VA  23223.

Virginia State Police has established a fund for Trooper Smith's Family. You may make contributions payable to the Virginia State Police Association Emergency Relief Fund. Please mail donations to the Virginia State Police Association at 6944 Forest Hill Avenue, Richmond, Va. 23225.