April 09, 2004
Alabama Deputy Killed in Collision
Officer Down: Deputy Brandon Lassiter - [Andalusia, Alabama]
By Mary Reeves, The Andalusia Star News (Andalusia, Ala.)
Tragedy struck the law enforcement community early Thursday morning when a Covington County Sheriff's Deputy was killed in the line of duty.
The wreck took place around 1 a.m. on U.S.. Highway 84 near ClientLogic when a Ford Explorer driven by Dustin Fletcher collided with the patrol car driven by Deputy Brandon Lassiter. Both drivers died as a result of injuries incurred.
According to one officer at the investigation site, Lassiter, 30, of Red Level, was traveling east toward Opp on his regular patrol and Fletcher , 25 of Andalusia, was traveling toward Andalusia. Fletcher was ejected from his vehicle and Lassiter was entrapped.
"For some reason the Fletcher vehicle was in Lassiter's vehicle's lane," said Corp. Tommy Waters of the Alabama State Troopers post in Evergreen, who was at the investigation scene.
The impact flipped both the deputy's car and the Ford Explorer over.
"There was no high-speed chase," said one law enforcement officer at the scene. Dozens of police cars from every agency in the county - and some from other counties - were on the scene, with even more law enforcement officers and other first responders arriving at one point or another to help with both traffic control, the investigation - and each other.
"It's sad anytime you have a fatality, but it's almost like (losing) a brother," said Waters. "It's someone you work with every day, someone you share interests with outside of work. Police are a special breed - anytime you lose a fellow officer, whether it's a man or a woman, city or county, there's always that deeper feeling of loss."
"I don't believe there's an officer in this county who slept last night," said Mark Anderson of the Coffee County Sheriff's Department. Anderson saw the start of Lassiter's law enforcement career and worked with him on more than one occasion. "You know, you put on your vest, you expect to get short at, you expect to get into fights, you deal with meth labs - dying like this just isn't right," said Anderson.
The Coffee County investigator, who spent several hours at the scene, also spent some time with a distraught Florala Police Chief Lamar Mitchell, who had also worked with the young officer.
Covington County Sheriff Anthony Clark expressed sympathy and concern for the families of both young men.
Waters was joined by Alabama State Troopers Ellis Farley and Blake Turman, who will be handling the investigation.
"They'll be working on it pretty hard," said Waters.
Waters said traffic homicide investigators were called to the scene because of the fatalities, and that was the standard course of action.
Waters commended the many agencies who responded to the emergency, acknowledging that their relationship with Lassiter made it more difficult.
"Even though there's tragedy, there's a job you have to get done," said Waters.
Services for Deputy Michael Brandon Lassiter will be held Saturday, April 10 at Fairmount Baptist Church in Red Level, with internment following at Fairmount Cemetery. Visitation will be Friday, April 9 at Foreman Funeral Home from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
He is survived by his parents, James M. Lassiter and Florie Lee Lassiter of Red Level, his grandmother, Vivian Lassiter, also of Red Level, and several aunts and uncles.
He was a graduate of Red Level High School, LBW Junior College, and Southwest Police Academy. He was a Mason and a Shriner.
Services for Dustin De Fletcher will be at 10 a.m. Saturday , April 10 at Foreman Funeral Home Chapel. Visitation will be Friday after 5:30 p.m.
He is survived by his parents, Rickey and Vicki Fletcher of Andalusia, a sister and brother-in-law, Jacqueline Alanna and Dylan Gregory Boltzang of Panama City Beach, Fla.; his grandmother Sarah Elizabeth Sexton, Panama City, Fla., an aunt and an uncle. A 1997 graduate of Pleasant Home School, he was employed at ClientLogic.