EMERALD ISLE, CARTERET COUNTY - The Town of Emerald Isle has renamed a street after a Coast Guardsman who died while chasing suspected drug smugglers off the coast of California.
A dedication ceremony was held at U.S. Coast Guard Station Emerald Isle Thursday morning, to rename Station Street to Terrell Horne lll Way. Horne's wife, Rachel, and their three young sons attended the ceremony, where the boys helped unveil the new street sign that bears their father's name.
Horne is credited for saving at least 38 lives while he was working as the second-in-command at the Emerald Isle station.
But on Dec. 2, 2012, the 34-year-old was killed while chasing drug smugglers in the waters near the Santa Cruz Island, Calif., investigators said.
Horne was sent out to investigate a fishing vessel, believed to be filled with drugs, when that boat rammed Horne's vessel, sending him and another Coast Guardsman overboard, according to investigators. Both were taken to a hospital, where Horne was pronounced dead. Medical officials said he died from being hit on the head by a propeller.
Coast Guardsmen said they later caught up with the vessel that rammed Horne's boat. Two Mexican nationals aboard were arrested and charged in Horne's death.
During Thursday's dedication ceremony, friends reflected on Horne's life.
"We worked together for the crew operations, search and rescue, and law enforcing. But in that role he became my friend," said Robert Lepere, officer in charge at USCG Station Emerald Isle. "It is my hope that we do not forget this hero who served in this community, while keeping his legacy alive for his wife and three children."
Horne was the first American law enforcement officer to die off the California coast in several years. He had served in the Coast Guard for 14 years.