01/12/2004

Ga. Deputy Struck By Car Friday Dies

Officer Down: Deputy Kenneth Burton - [Augusta, Georgia]

By Dena Levitz | Staff Writer

A Richmond County, Ga. sheriff's deputy who was hit by a car Friday while directing traffic around an accident died Sunday, officials said.

Kenneth Burton, 46, a road patrol deputy for the Southgate precinct, was pronounced dead at about 12:15 p.m. Sunday at Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

According to the Georgia State Patrol, Deputy Burton was struck by a 2001 Saturn driven by Brenda Grimstead, 58, of Augusta, as he directed traffic on the southbound side of Peach Orchard Road, where a tractor-trailer had overturned that afternoon.

Charges against Ms. Grimstead are pending, according to the state patrol. Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength said alcohol was not a factor.

Friends and co-workers who were at MCG on Sunday afternoon said they would miss Deputy Burton.

"He was just a good guy who loved his job," said Charles Mitchell, a deputy for the Southgate precinct who was Deputy Burton's best friend. "He went to work happy every day ... and he was really one of those people you didn't want to see die."

Deputy Mitchell said the two met about 12 years ago at Fort Gordon, where they were in the same Army unit. Deputy Burton retired from the military after 21 years of service, Deputy Mitchell said.

Four years ago, Deputy Burton joined the Richmond County force shortly after his best friend did.

Deputy Burton's supervisor of 18 months, Sgt. Billy Hambrick, said the slain officer was a skilled deputy who had a great personality.

"He was known as a hard worker," Sgt. Hambrick said. "And he was definitely a family man."

Deputy Burton was married to his wife, Vickie, for almost 30 years. The couple, who lived in Hephzibah, had two children, Timothy and Natalie, and five grandchildren.

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