HINESVILLE, Georgia -- A Long County sheriff’s deputy was killed early Thursday after crashing his patrol vehicle during a pursuit in South Georgia, according to multiple media reports.
The deputy had just joined the pursuit on Ga. 57 when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a woodline, the Georgia State Patrol told Savannah news station WJCL-TV.
He was taken to Liberty Regional Medical Center in Hinesville, where he died, the news station reported. The Georgia Law Enforcement Organization identified him as Sheldon Whiteman.
“It’s just unfortunate that this type of thing happens when people fail to stop for law enforcement,” GSP Capt. Thornell King told reporters from the scene. “Anytime anyone loses their life in the law enforcement field it’s a tragedy, and it’s just a bad thing for the county of Long County today.”
The deputy was assisting a Ludowici police officer, according to the GSP. The officer spotted a motorist running stop signs and began to pursue the vehicle on Ga. 57 in the direction of McIntosh County, the agency told news station WTOC-TV.
The driver continued after the crash and has not been captured, King said. Authorities are not releasing a description of the suspect or the vehicle, but King said it’s likely that a reward will eventually be offered for information.
“At this time we are unable to release it because we are working with Long County as well as McIntosh County,” to apprehend the suspect, he said.
Another vehicle pursuit through Long County in 2018 took the life of Ludowici police Chief Frank McClelland Jr. The chief was outside his patrol car directing traffic to allow the pursuit to come through town when he was hit.
The fleeing vehicle then went out of control and careened into a nearby motorcycle, killing a 61-year-old bystander.
Whiteman is the first Georgia officer killed in the line of duty in 2020. A Henry County police K-9, Thorr, was killed in a vehicle accident earlier this month while riding in a patrol car on I-75.
©2020 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)
Visit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.) at www.ajc.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.