04/07/2010

Tenn. deputy falls to his death during investigation

Chad Pritchard fell into a 200-foot sinkhole while investigating a crime scene

NewsChannel5.com

LIVINGSON, Tenn. — An Overton County Sheriff's deputy has died after falling into a sinkhole near Hilham, about 9 miles west of Livingston.

The Overton County Sheriff W.B. Melton sent Deputy Chad Prichard, another deputy and two park rangers to work on a cold case homicide in the area of Rocky Mountain Road just outside of Standing Stone State Park. While searching the area, they came upon a sinkhole. When Prichard tried to get a closer look with his flashlight, the ground gave way and he fell to the bottom of the sinkhole. Park rangers estimated the hole to be 161-feet deep.

The other deputy and park rangers called to Prichard, but got no response. Fire and rescue crews responded to the area. Officials said as crews worked, it became clear that Prichard did not survive the fall. It took crews several hours to recover Prichard's body.

Prichard had been with the Sheriff's Office for just 2 ½ months. Sheriff Melton said the new deputy had a bright future in front of him.

"He just got out of the academy and I felt like he was going to be top-notch," said Melton.

Read full story: Tenn. deputy dies on duty after falling into sinkhole

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