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South Georgia deputy dies in crash while chasing suspect

Authorities say Deputy Sheldon Whiteman had been with the Long County Sheriff's Office for months.

LONG COUNTY, Ga. — A south Georgia community is in mourning following the death of a deputy who was involved in a wreck while trying to capture a suspect.

The Long County Sheriff's Office said Deputy Sheldon Whiteman,  died in a crash on Highway 57 in Long County, Georgia around 3 a.m. WSAV reports the crash was not far from from Tibet Road.

The sheriff's office said Whiteman was assisting with a pursuit. 

Georgia State Patrol Captain Thornell King told the station that the chase began when a Ludowici Police officer spotted a driver running stop signs in the city. Whiteman joined the chase but eventually lost control of his vehicle and drove deep into the wood line along Highway 57.

He was taken to Liberty Regional Medical Center in Hinesville, Georgia but died from his injuries.

In a statement released by the sheriff's office, a spokesperson said Long County Sheriff Craig W. Nobles and members of his staff "are deeply grieved" to announce Whiteman's death in the line of duty. 

Whiteman had been with the sheriff's office for just four months. In a release to 11Alive, the sheriff's office added that he had been certified as a peace officer since 2016. He also worked in Chatham County. 

"Deputy Whiteman was a loving husband and father, and is survived by his wife, Alisa Ann Whiteman, and 3 sons, A'ron Whiteman, 16, Arion Whiteman, 13, and Shiloh Whiteman, 11," the sheriff's office said.

Credit: Long County Sheriff's Office / Facebook
Sheldon Whiteman

Meanwhile, the search for the driver who initially led Whiteman and others on the case is still ongoing as deputies in neighboring Liberty County search the area, WSAV reports.

A tracking dog was able to pick up what they believe was the suspect's scent but lost it on a dirt road. Liberty County Sheriff Steve Sikes said there's reason to believe the suspect was picked up by someone else.

As for whether that suspect will face a charge in connection with deputy Whiteman's death, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has gotten involved and has not yet made a determination.

Reporter Alex Bozarjian was alongside the procession when Whiteman's body was escorted from the GBI Crime Lab in Pooler to a funeral home in Ludowici. Bozarjian reported dozens of law enforcement officers and first responders from multiple counties lining the streets to honor his life and sacrifice.


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