Georgia trooper of 30 years also known for ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ role dies

DUBLIN, Ga. — Georgia officials are mourning the death of a beloved state trooper who served the state for decades.

Master Trooper Ronnie Gay, a member of the 43rd Trooper school, died Friday night.

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Gay served for 30 years with the department and also worked at the governor’s mansion. He also had a memorable role in “Smokey and the Bandit” with Burt Reynolds.

“Many of us grew up watching the famous scene of Master Trooper Gay in Smokey and the Bandit, which inspired some to become Troopers,” Georgia Department of Public Safety wrote in a statement.

“He taught through his love and laughter of life to be genuine and compassionate to those we serve. This icon will be missed and we ask that you keep his family in your thoughts as they mourn his passing.”


“Smokey and the Bandit” was filmed in Georgia in 1977 near where Gay was stationed. Georgia State Patrol shared photos of his time on set with Reynolds and the cast.

Gay’s memorable scene came during one of the chase scenes. His trooper car ends up on the back of a tractor-trailer bed. In the scene, he says his most-quotable line, “Son, reckon you let me off at the next exit?”

Funeral arrangements for Gay have not been announced.


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