Friends Remember Two Killed in Line of Duty

POSTED: 11:29 PM Jun 12 2012   UPDATED: 11:35 AM Jun 13 2012
0612 tragic crash
ONSLOW COUNTY -

Four years has passed since a tragic crash killed two men working and serving the Onslow County community. Friends say the men may be gone, but they are not forgotten.

Onslow County Deputy Steve “Bam Bam” Boehm, 36, and Asst. Verona Fire Chief Colin Thomas, 51, were both killed while responding to an accident.  It happened on Highway 17, south of Jacksonville, on June 14, 2008.

Investigators say on that morning, there was low visibility on the road due to smoke from a Camp Lejeune fire and fog.  It was then that the driver of a tractor trailer, Robert Kornegay, 53, of Cumberland County, struck the two men, killing them.  Officers say speed was a factor.

Friends of the first responders held a memorial ride this past Saturday to remember the fallen men.  Roy Hall, Chief at Piney Green Fire Department, said, "I lost a brother on each side of the street."

Hall remembered how he got the news that his friend Boehm was killed.

"I immediately got on the phone and called dispatch.  I was told who it was, and I dropped my phone on the kitchen floor," said Hall.

Hall worked for five years with Boehm at the Onslow County Sheriff's Office.

"He was a different breed.  I don't care how bad it got, he always made people laugh," said Hall.

Verona resident, Charles McKinney, remembered his friend - volunteer firefighter Gene Thomas.

"He was very quiet.  He did things for other people.  He was happy when he was helping others," said McKinney.

McKinney said Thomas comes from a long line of public servants.  Two of his brothers and his mother are also firefighters.

"Thursday morning my flag will be at half staff," said Hall.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Robert Kornegay, pleaded guilty in March 2010 to two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.