Aiken County deputy dies after being struck by vehicle

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December 8, 2006

The Aiken County Sheriff's Office is mourning the loss of one of their own...a deputy who died while directing traffic last night.

29-year-old Sgt. Jason Sheppard was one of several officers who responded to an industrial fire off US-1 around 4:30 yesterday afternoon.

Only four deputies before him have died in the line of duty in Aiken County.

Sgt. Sheppard had only been on the force for two years before his career came to an abrupt end.

Flags waved at half staff at the Aiken County Sheriff's Office today in honor of Sgt. Sheppard.

Dozens of his fellow law enforcement members lined up behind the sheriff as he announced one of their own had fallen in the line of duty.

Sgt. Sheppard is the first deputy in Aiken County to die in the line of duty in 16 years.

The 29-year-old sergeant was pronounced dead around midnight last night after suffering a critical head injury.

Sheppard was responding to an industrial fire at the BAE Systems plant, directing traffic on US-1, when 62-year-old Lynda Wyman struck the deputy with her SUV.

"It was a terrible tragedy," said Aiken County Sheriff Michael Hunt.

Capt. Henry Sims with the Batesburg-Leesville Public Safety office was a close friend of the deputy's. He says it was his contagious smile he'll always remember.

"He was a funny guy," Capt. Sims said. "He always had you laughing."

He says he got the call from a friend and immediately headed to the emergency room.

"When I got the call I was told it wasn't looking good, and I guess you kind of reflect back on things," he said.

Even though authorities know the risk is always there, the loss will now be a devastating reminder for the captain every time he puts his uniform on.

"You always know it can (happen), but you put it in the back of your head and try to be careful, and still you got a job to do," he said.

Funeral arrangements for Sgt. Sheppard have been made. Services will be held at the Millbrook Baptist Church on East Pine Log Road in Aiken at 11 am.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that you send donations to the Aiken County Sheriff's Office or to the Berlin Baptist Church.

We don't know if the driver of the SUV was speeding at the time. That information won't be released until the investigation of the accident has been finalized. They're expecting it could take several weeks.