Woman remembers letter she wrote as 15-year-old to slain deputy

By: Sheli Muniz Email
By: Sheli Muniz Email

Crystal Young is grateful that Deputy J.D. Young helped her as a 15-year-old. She says he saved her life. (WRDW-TV / Oct. 26, 2011)

News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Deputy James D. Paugh was hired with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office in 1994.

News 12 got a hold of his personnel file and took a closer look at his work history.

Over the past 17 years, Deputy Paugh worked two protection details for President George W. Bush during visits to Greene County. On his most recent review, he received an 8.5 -- which we are told is a very high rating.

But in the many pages of this file, one thing in particular caught our eye: a letter from a 15-year-old girl.

"Officer Paugh, you probably don't remember me, but I just wanted to thank you for arresting me. It can't technically be called pulled over because I was in my driveway. If I would have gotten away with it, I would have probably drove it again. Thanks for saving my life. Sincerely, Crystal Young."

When News 12 contacted Young, she couldn't believe he had kept the letter from a complete stranger. She says it just tells of the kind of person he was.

"I woke up, it was probably 12 or 1 o'clock in the morning, and I decided I was just going to go for a little joyride," Young said.

A joyride in her parents' car after sneaking out. That is, until Deputy Paugh pulled her over.

"He said, 'Ma'am, I need to see your driver's license,' and I handed him my permit because I was 15. He said, 'Are your parents home?' and I said, 'Yes' and he said, 'Will you go wake them up?' and I said, 'I don't want to.' He said, 'Go wake them up," remembered Young.

She says that night she was supposed to be charged with grand theft auto, out past curfew, driving without a license and more.

"I really do thank him for that because I really wouldn't be where I am today," Young said.

That's because she's now a cosmetologist and she says those charges could have kept her from getting her license, but she also says the man credited with saving lives the night of his death, saved hers 12 years ago.

"If he hadn't pulled me over, I would have probably snuck out again and I mean I could have gotten into a wreck. I mean there's no telling what I could have gotten myself into," Young said.

She was sad to hear the news of his death.

"I know that he will be greatly missed, but this is just one more story that lets everybody know of the great person that he was and lets that legacy live on."

News 12 has set up a special page to remember Deputy Paugh. To view it, click here.

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