Fallen deputy's family donates kidney to fellow deputy

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March 22, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---A Richmond County deputy has lost his life, but another deputy may live longer because of his fellow officer.

Deputy Eric Sikes and police academy instructor David James served together for only a short time. The two men may have not have even known each other. But now, they're bonded.

24-year-old Eric Mark Sikes was an organ donor. Sheriff Ronnie Strength confirms that the fallen officer's kidneys are a match for another brother on the force, David James. The sheriff says that even in this difficult time for Eric Sikes' family, they've donated his vital organ to save someone's life.

David James is the Richmond County officer who was shot five times on duty 17 years ago. He received a kidney transplant, but his transplanted kidney is failing and he's now on dialysis.

Deputy Sikes was relatively new to the force and was just 24 years old.

It's believed that Sikes ran his patrol car off Allen Road in Burke County near the Richmond County line March 20 on his way to work.

At the accident scene, skid marks and dirt mark the area where Sikes veered off the road. Authorities, including the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, are still looking into how the accident happened.

Earlier tonight, Eric Sikes' father, wife and close friends returned to the scene of the crash. Sikes' father told us that "all his life he wanted to be a deputy" and that Sikes was doing what he wanted to do.

As you can imagine, this is a difficult time for Sikes' wife. She is grieving and not ready to talk.

David James is in good condition at MCG.

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