Officer Down: Deputy Sheriff Chad McDonald
Officer Down: Deputy Sheriff Chad McDonald - [Bibb County, Georgia]
Ga. deputy succumbs to injuries in crash two days ago
BIBB COUNTY, Ga. — Bibb County Sheriff's deputy Chad McDonald was surrounded by family when he died Friday afternoon at The Medical Center of Central Georgia.
McDonald, 29, suffered severe head injuries Wednesday in a traffic crash involving one other car. He had remained in the critical care unit since then.
Hospital medical staff pronounced McDonald dead at 4:35 p.m., Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones said.
Various members of the sheriff's office, including Sheriff Jerry Modena, Deputy Chief David Davis and sheriff's chaplains, visited with his family throughout Friday afternoon.
"We are deeply saddened by the course of events. For the second time in two years, we've had one of our officers stricken down in the course of duty," Davis said. "It's always worst here at the holidays. We'll try to get through it."
In March 2006, deputy Joseph Whitehead was killed in an on-duty shooting.
McDonald, a former state Department of Corrections employee, joined the sheriff's office four years ago.
"During that time, he had obviously grown very close to a lot of deputies," Davis said. "Since Wednesday night, there's been a steady stream of officers visiting from all areas of the office."
Capt. Charlie Gunnels of the patrol division, where McDonald worked as a patrolman, described him as an ambitious young deputy with a friendly spirit.
"Chad was a fine young man, a good patrolman, still learning," Gunnels said. "A big guy with a soft heart."
Gunnels and fellow deputies met Friday with McDonald's wife, LaKeisha, his parents and his 3-year-old son, Ty.
"As can be expected, (LaKeisha) was very upset," he said. "She's lost without a husband but holding up very well."
Family members were not available for comment.
Sheriff's office spokesman Lt. George Meadows, who had been in touch with the family, said they were trying their best to manage in the midst of unexpected tragedy.
Two deputies have been assigned to McDonald's family for support. Gunnels said a meeting with the family will take place by Monday to determine how the sheriff's office can assist with funeral arrangements.
"Sheriff Modena has offered the full services of the sheriff's office," Davis said. "Anything we can do to help the family to cope during these next few days we will. We will be there when this is over."
An accident reconstruction by the sheriff's office is under way. A final report should be available next week, Davis said. No citations have been issued.
Officials have reported McDonald was making a left turn from the southbound lanes of Hawkinsville Road onto the Cargill Road connector about 3:40 p.m. Wednesday when a northbound Jeep Grand Cherokee struck the passenger side of his patrol car.
The driver of the 2000 Jeep, 44-year-old Stephen Hoyt of Macon, was not seriously injured but did receive treatment at the Medical Center.
Copyright 2007 The Macon Telegraph