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Trooper honored with bridge naming

The N.C. Department of Transportation dedicated the bridge at Exit 31 of Interstate 40 in Haywood County in honor of State Trooper Shawn Blanton, last Thursday, the two-year anniversary of his death.

“From this day forward, all who cross this bridge will be reminded of Shawn’s sacrifice and dedicated and unwavering service to the community,” Jim Trogdon, N.C. Department of Transportation Chief Operating Officer, said during a ceremony at the Colonial Theater in Canton last week. “In this small way, we’re insuring he will never be forgotten.”

Blanton was shot and killed on June 17, 2008, after pulling over a car for a routine traffic violation along the stretch of Interstate 40 outside Canton. The EMS rushed Blanton to the intensive care unit at Asheville Memorial Mission Hospital.

The first-degree murder trial of Edwardo Wong, who is charged with Blanton’s murder, is set for August. Wong could receive the death penalty if proven guilty. The trial was moved to Catawba County for fear it would be impossible to find unbiased local jurors.

Blanton’s son Tye, who was born premature 17 days before Blanton’s death, was receiving treatment in the neonatal intensive care unit also at Memorial Mission Hospital. Tye died four months later from numerous medical problems, including congestive heart failure.

Michaela Blanton, Shawn Blanton’s widow, established the Tye Blanton Foundation and the Trooper Shawn Blanton Scholarship in memory of her son and husband. The third annual Trooper Shawn Blanton – G540 Scholarship Golf Tournament will take place Aug. 6 to raise money for the scholarship fund. For more information or to register, contact Tony Belcher at 828.356.6710 or 828.226.0984.

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