Deputy Sheriff Richard Daniels Twiggs County Sheriff’s Office Georgia End of Watch: Tuesday, June 22, 2010

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this officer's photographPatch image: Twiggs County Sheriff's Office, Georgia

Deputy Sheriff Richard Daniels
Twiggs County Sheriff’s Office
Georgia

End of Watch: Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Biographical Info
Age: 27
Tour of Duty: Not available
Badge Number: Not available

Incident Details
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
Date of Incident: Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Weapon Used: Not available
Suspect Info: Not available

Deputy Richard Daniels was killed when his patrol car struck a fallen tree on U.S. 80, near Turkey Creek, at approximately 1:30 am.
He suffered fatal head injuries and died at the scene.
Deputy Daniels is survived by his wife and infant daughter.

Agency Contact Information
Twiggs County Sheriff’s Office
37 North Ash Street
Jeffersonville, GA 31044
Phone: (478) 945-3357
Please contact the Twiggs County Sheriff’s Office for funeral arrangements or for survivor benefit fund information.

http://www.macon.com

Richard Daniels had just made an overnight security check at Reece Funeral Home when he headed east down U.S. 80 to do to the same at some churches.

While most of Twiggs County was sleeping about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, Daniels was out patrolling streets and protecting property on what would be his last night on the job.

 

BEAU CABELL/THE TELEGRAPH A memorial was placed Tuesday morning near the site of an accident that killed Twiggs County deputy Richard Daniels earlier that morning as he was patrolling the area. Daniels’ patrol car apparently struck a tree, killing him almost instantly, according to the sheriff. Investigators aren’t sure whether the tree fell on the car or whether it had already fallen.

 

On a dark, lonely stretch of road that time of morning, he apparently never saw what hit him. A huge oak toppled over at mile marker 6. The impact on the 55 mph highway killed him instantly and tore the roof off his patrol car. It kept going another 271 feet after clipping the tree trunk that was suspended off the ground.

The site is now marked with a white cross decorated with law enforcement colors of black and blue ribbon stretched along the horizontal plank.

Investigators aren’t sure whether the towering tree was already in the road or if it crashed down as he passed by. There are no skid marks on the pavement as it descends down to Turkey Creek.

“It’s just a freak thing,” said Twiggs County Coroner Harold Reece Jr., who pronounced the 27-year-old man dead from head injuries about 2:15 a.m.

Sheriff Darren Mitchum dreaded answering the phone as it rang.

“It just scares the daylights out of you because you’re afraid you’ll get that kind of call,” he said.

Daniels wasn’t just an employee, but Mitchum’s friend. The two had worked together at the Bleckley County Sheriff’s Office. Daniels came looking for a job soon after Mitchum was elected Twiggs County sheriff in 2005.

“He was a big-hearted guy,” Mitchum said. “He liked to have fun.”

Daniels was a true public servant who enjoyed his work, the sheriff said. The tall, brawny man also served on the Twiggs Fire and Rescue unit.

Asked to describe Daniels, his colleagues referred to him as a big, “cornbread-fed” man who loved to hunt, fish and farm his Bleckley County land.

“He sure could eat some cornbread,” one deputy said as the officers put a small crack in the somber mood as they remembered happier times over the three years Daniels worked there.

Flags were lowered to half-staff at the sheriff’s office and Twiggs County Courthouse as dozens of law enforcement officers from surrounding counties called to pay their respects to Mitchum and his department.

Already, there are plenty of offers for support. Temporary staff from other agencies will protect the county and guard the jail during the funeral.

“It’s all in the family down here, so it’s tough,” said Chief Deputy Billy Boney, who wore a black strap across his badge.

Daniels leaves behind a wife and 1-year-old daughter, who is seen posing with him for his profile picture on Facebook.

As news spread across the community, the curious came out to drive slowly past the accident scene as if to try to understand how such a strong man could succumb to such a horrible twist of fate.

State of Georgia arborist Ronald Harris inspected the tree Tuesday afternoon for the Georgia Department of Transportation investigation. It was a healthy oak above ground with some rotted roots that likely broke while the tree rocked in recent strong winds, Harris concluded.

“To me it looks like he had no warning,” he said.

With the shoulder of the road sloping up to the woods, the trunk of the tree was hanging up to about 5 feet off the asphalt. If the tree was already down, Daniels might not have been able to see it in his headlights.

“It’s just an act of God,” Harris said. “It’s something you can’t predict, like a tornado dropping out of the sky.”

Mitchum and his men see it a little differently. Daniels’ unwitting sacrifice may have saved someone else’s life.

“If it wasn’t him, it would have been someone else,” one deputy explained to a concerned caller.

As is customary for officers killed in the line of duty, Daniels will have an honor guard and a full law-enforcement tribute during his funeral, which is being planned for sometime Friday. Reece Funeral Home has charge of arrangements.

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2 Responses to “Deputy Sheriff Richard Daniels Twiggs County Sheriff’s Office Georgia End of Watch: Tuesday, June 22, 2010”


  1. 1 Hannah Singleton June 23, 2010 at 13:04

    This is such a heart wrenching story. I learned of the tragedy from a friend that also serves our community. This story hits a little closer to home as I hold my 9 month old daughter.

    I am thankful to all the men and women that serve our area. My children pray every night that Heavenly Father will watch over our public servants, as they watch over us.

    Our prayers will continue and our hears are with everyone that is touched by this incident.

    God bless and God’s grace be with you all.

    • 2 themunz June 23, 2010 at 17:49

      Hannah I am sure that all prayers are heard and appreciated. But the ones now that need it are the ones that Deputy Daniels has left behind.

      I knew what I faced on the street, but I never realized the horror my wife and children suffered every time I was late coming back home.

      The job is the hardest on the families.

      Pray for them please.

      Bob


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