Wake deputies say motorcyclist killed in chase was Fort Bragg paratrooper

A Fort Bragg paratrooper died in Wake County on Saturday morning when he crashed his motorcycle after a high-speed chase with sheriff’s deputies, according to the Wake County Sheriff’s Office.

Pfc. James Smith, 19, of Eatonville, Wash., was a member of the 82nd Airborne Division.

At about 11:20 a.m. Saturday, a Wake sheriff’s deputy attempted to stop a Yamaha motorcycle on N.C. 55 near Fuquay-Varina that was driving recklessly at 80 mph in a 45-mph zone, according to the sheriff’s office. The motorcycle, driven by Smith, turned onto northbound U.S. 401 and at times hit speeds of more than 145 mph, the sheriff’s office said.

Near Garner, Smith turned onto Legend Road and approached Old Stage Road in excess of 100 mph when he crossed the center line and overturned, hitting a Chevrolet Silverado that had stopped at the intersection, according to the sheriff’s office. Smith came to rest under the pickup and was pronounced dead at the scene.