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Tazewell County Sheriff’s deputy dies following single-vehicle accident in Richlands

July 23, 2010 | Virginia News

RICHLANDS, Va. — A Tazewell County deputy died early Friday morning following a single-vehicle accident while responding to an assistance call from Richlands police, according to Detective Anne Hickman with the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputy Sheriff Shawn Hess, 35, of Tazewell, was driving westbound on U.S. Route 460, responding to a “serious call” from the Richlands Police Department when his car hit a guardrail around 5:30 a.m and went over an embankment, according to Hickman. A passerby called in the accident, saying he saw the vehicle go off the road near Bug Street. Hickman said the vehicle was found near the Clinch River.

“Needless to say, we’re pretty torn up,” Hickman said. “He was a good young man, honest and reliable. He had his pilots license and worked as a commercial pilot. He would do transport for the sheriff’s office.” Hess was responding to an incident at the Crestview Mobile Home Park in Richlands, where a 15-year-old girl had gone into a seizure following giving birth. Kenny King, 38-year-old fugitive from Lenoir, N.C. was arrested, after the girl was hospitalized, on charges of child abuse and neglect and being a fugitive from justice after being charged with rape in North Carolina. The local police community is offering support to its fellow officers. “We wish to express our deepest sympathy to the family of Deputy Shawn Hess and the members of the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department,” said Richlands Police Chief W.A. Puckett. “Deputy Hess was an excellent deputy and served the citizens of Tazewell County above and beyond the call of duty.” According to Sheriff H.S. Caudill, Hess was a seven-year veteran of the force, working as a road patrol officer, and had always wanted to be a police officer. “He, just like the majority of our department, was a fine, up-standing young man,” Caudill said. “All his life, he wanted to be a police officer. He’s the officer every department looks for in quality, stature and personality. Shawn was just an outstanding young man.” Hess is the second officer the Tazewell Sheriff’s Department has lost this year. The first was Deputy Sheriff Tom Reid in February. “This was our second time we lost an officer this year and, every time it’s hard,” Caudill said. Police chaplains and counselors met with the deputies who were on scene at the accident and deputies and dispatchers met for a critical incident debriefing at 1 p.m. “We see people killed in automobile accidents all the time, but when it’s your brother, it hurts worse,” Caudill said. Virginia State Police are currently investigating the incident. Source: Bluefield Daily Telegraph