LONG COUNTY, Ga. — A Long County sheriff’s deputy was killed early Thursday after crashing his patrol vehicle during a pursuit in South Georgia.
Officers realized that Deputy Shelton Whiteman was no longer with them when the pursuit ended near McIntosh County, according to the Georgia State Patrol. They went looking for him and found his patrol car overturned in the woods on Ga. 57 near mile marker 25.
He was taken to Liberty Regional Medical Center in Hinesville, where he died, according to multiple media reports. Whiteman, 44, served in law enforcement in Chatham County before coming to the Long County Sheriff’s Office in September 2019, the agency said. He had been a certified peace officer since 2016.
Long County Sheriff Craig W. Nobles said in a statement he and his entire staff were deeply grieved by Whiteman’s death. He was described as “a loving husband and father” and leaves behind a wife and three teenage sons.
“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.”
Whiteman was assisting a Ludowici police officer when he was killed, 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.
Funeral arrangements have not been finalized.
© 2020 © 2020 Cox Media Group