BURKE COUNTY, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - A Burke County firefighter who was killed on duty last week was laid to rest Friday morning.
Jason Keith Hensley, 40, was struck and killed by a suspected drunk driver while clearing debris from the road in Morganton Sunday night, police said.
Firefighters had been dispatched to a tree that was blocking the eastbound and part of the westbound lanes of Highway 70 east near the Drexel intersection just before midnight.
A driver in a pick-up truck heading eastbound on Highway 70 struck Hensley, who was a firefighter with the Triple Community Fire Department. Hensley was killed "instantly on impact," police said.
Assistant Fire Chief Joshua Smith believes Hensley is the first firefighter to die in the line of duty in the fire department's history.
The driver of the pick-up truck, Randall Stewart, 58, of Morganton, is charged with DWI, operating without a license, reckless driving, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and a seatbelt violation, according to North Carolina State Highway Patrol. Stewart is facing an additional felony charge of death by motor vehicle. He is being held on $25,000 secured bond.