The death of two men at the end of a police chase Saturday has left many in two counties stunned.
Long County Chief Magistrate and Probate Judge Bobby Smith III said Long Countians are in shock after the death of Ludowici Police Chief Frank McClelland Jr.
“Mr. Frank was a one of a kind man, every time you saw him he was always smiling and always had a kind word to say to everybody,” said Smith. “It’s going to be a definite loss to our community and a void that will never be able to be filled.”
Also being mourned is retired Army master sergeant Marvin Pope, who is remembered on social media as a man who served his country and was dedicated to family and friends.
On Saturday, McClelland and Pope were allegedly struck and killed by Daniel Michael Toronto Hill while he attempted to evade police. McClelland was struck when he had exited his patrol car to stop traffic. Pope was killed seconds later.
Smith has known McClelland since he was a child growing up in the Ludowici community.
“Our families were good friends, and knew him since we were little. I’ve always known him as little Frank because his dad was known as big Frank,” said Smith “He was very respected by everyone in the community; I hope people really know how much he loved the community and loved the community and loved them.”
Outside of the Dollar General and Ludowici IGA on Highway 84, people lined up to pay their respects Monday during a procession for McClelland.
“If you look around you see people who should be at work paying their respect,” said Bob Heffley of the Long County Fire Department. Heffley knew McClelland for over 40 years.
“He never said a bad word about anybody, not even criminals,” Heffley said. “He treated everyone with respect.”
Many spoke of his strong roots in Ludowici and his upstanding character
“He was raised here in Ludowici and was a very good chief of police,” said Ludowici City Council member Mary Hamilton.
Across the street at the Family Dollar, small flags lined the street as people waited in the scorching heat for the procession to begin.
“He meant everything to the community,” said local resident Chap Clark. “It’s been a tough day and a tough past couple of days.”
Liberty County Sheriff Steve Sikes was at a loss for words when talking about McClelland.
“We’re showing respect and honor a man we truly loved,” said Sikes. “He will be dearly missed and I … I’m at a loss for words.”
McClelland’s funeral services will be 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19 at First Baptist Ludowici with the Rev. Eric Rentz and David Simmons officiating.
Visitation for Pope, 61, was set for 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at Carter Funeral Home, Oglethorpe Chapel. His funeral will be held Saturday in Hawkinsville, according to the funeral home.
Pope was a member of the Outcasts motorcycle group. He served for 29 years in the Army, according to a family friend, and “was a decorated and highly respected veteran in our community,” according to a post on the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office page.
“We thank you for your service, Sir. May you Rest In Peace,” the post ended.