The Long County Sheriff’s Office deputy killed in a Thursday morning accident during a car chase was identified as Sheldon Whiteman, who had only been with the department four months after serving as a deputy in Chatham County, according to Sheriff Craig Nobles. He was described on the department's Facebook page Thursday afternoon as "a loving husband and father, and is survived by his wife, Alisa Ann Whiteman, and 3 sons, A'ron Whiteman, 16, Arion Whiteman, 13, and Shiloh Whiteman, 11."
Whiteman was helping pursue a car south on Highway 57 around 3 a.m. when he lost control and his patrol car plowed into the woods.
He was taken to Liberty Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
His body was then taken to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s crime lab in Pooler, then returned to Ludowci by Howard Funeral Home. It was escorted by several law enforcement agencies, including the Georgia State Patrol and Liberty County Sheriff’s Department.
As the hearse passed through Hinesville, Hinesville Police Department officers lined the side of Highway 84 to salute Whiteman.
Georgia State Patrol Capt. Thornell King said Whiteman lost control of his car while helping a Ludowici police officer give chase to a driver who’d fled the city limits. Ludowici Police Chief Robert Parker said the officer was trying to stop the vehicle for running stop signs in the city.
King said Whiteman’s car went an estimated 100 feet into the woodline before stopping.
Authorities said they still don’t know who was driving the car, or why he ran. But Nobles said the suspects vehicle was located at a home on Gobbler Lane in McIntosh County.
Liberty County Sheriff Steve Sikes said the department’s tracking dog Charlie was able to pick up the suspects scent inside a nearby wood line but the scent ended on a dirt road. Sikes said it is believed the suspect may have been picked up by someone.
The GBI is also involved in the investigation, according to GBI Special Agent In Charge Stacy Carson.