Thursday, July 1, 2010
Car crash kills deputy
By SUE WATSON
Friday was a tragic day for Marshall County, Sheriff Kenny Dickerson and employees of his department.
An early morning car accident Friday on North Red Banks Road took the life of Lt. Carol Jean Scruggs, a 15-year veteran of law enforcement – five years as deputy sheriff.
Sheriff Dickerson and his employees said they reacted with shock and disbelief.
Scruggs’ death, while responding to a call from dispatch to go to Slayden Bank, is the second death of a sheriff’s department employee in recent months. Eddie Mae Lucas, the department’s long-time bookkeeping manager, was lost to cancer March 15 and the department lost officer Rob Warren four years ago to cancer.
The employees at the sheriff’s department are working out the details of a military-style memorial service for Scruggs. Those include a possible flyover by the DeSoto County helicopter at the memorial service at W.A. McMillan Multipurpose Center on Rust College campus at 11 a.m. Thursday and a flyover and honor guard service at Sand Hill MB Church Cemetery in Lamar afterward.
Major David Cook provided some details of the vehicle accident that claimed Scruggs’ life. He said Scruggs came on duty at 7 a.m. Friday and was en route to Slayden, just past the two Coldwater River bridges, when dispatch received a call of her accident around 7:28 a.m. Scruggs appeared to have lost control of her vehicle after hitting loose material on the roadside.
“It appeared she lost control while passing one or more vehicles on North Red Banks Road about one mile from the bridges,” Cook said.
“Her patrol car hit a telephone pole and appeared to roll several times. She was ejected at some point into a soybean field.”
Scruggs was airlifted to the Regional Medical Center at Memphis within 30-40 minutes after the accident was called in, according to coroner James Richard Anderson, and she died at 9:30 a.m. at The Med.
“We have had a great outpouring from other agencies offering to assist us during her memorial service,” Cook said.
Officers and Sheriff Dickerson summed up some of the attributes and personality strengths Scruggs was so remembered for. Dickerson counted qualities of honesty, dependability, loyalty, dedication and courage as some of the outstanding characteristics she was known for in her professional role.
“We had a great loss, here,” Dickerson said. “We are a real close-knit department here, like a family, and it is a devastating loss. We are more or less leaning on one another for comfort and strength, knowing we have to go on and carry out our duties.”
Dickerson said one of the biggest enjoyments a sheriff has is working with core officials and the public.
“Certainly, working with Carol was no exception,” he said. “It is particularly disturbing having lost Eddie Mae a few months ago.”
He said Scruggs’ death leaves a gap in their force.
He said she was an employee who went the extra mile and did it so willingly without having to be made to work a tough assignment.
“And she did it so gracefully,” he said.
Scruggs is remembered for her great sense of humor, good communication skills, knowledge of the people and the community, her work with schools and with children, her great love for family and coworkers, the sheriff said.
She was quick to offer to transport a troubled juvenile, the elderly and any person who had been committed to Whitfield for lunacy.
She was quick to ask for guidance when she needed advice. She wanted things to be done right.
A very joyful person, Scruggs was “a beacon of light” when anyone was having a down day, Dickerson said. She was pleasing to be around, a great humanitarian to the elderly and children and to churches and schools, he said.
“Her shoes will be extremely hard to fill,” he said.
Deputy Bernita Fountain loved to work with Scruggs on sheriff’s business and to be around her off duty when Scruggs worked security for many of the area schools.
“She loved her job, her family and her church - the three things she put a lot of time and effort into,” Fountain said. “She was close to everybody on the force and to me. We rode together, transported together, did ball game security together and ran with each other off duty.”
Cook remarked at the way Scruggs “would kind of light up a room.”
She was a compassionate person, dedicated to her work, dependable and willing to volunteer for tasks she knew were coming up, he said.
“She talked about her grandbaby, Liyah, a lot. She was a proud mother and grandmother. That grandbaby was the twinkle in her eye,” Cook said.
Jennifer Jones laughed about Scruggs’ disdain for computers.
“A computer was not her friend,” Jones said. “She hated having to get on it.”
Cook said Scruggs didn’t like computers and dogs.
“She was terrified of dogs,” he said.
Dickerson said Scruggs never complained, even when she was having a bad day.
“She was a great asset to this department, the citizens of this county and the State of Mississippi,” he said. “Truly, I will miss her and we will all miss her and her service.”
Visitation at Brittenum and Son Funeral Home is from 1-7 p.m. Wednesday, and at Rust College from 10 - 10:55 a.m. Thursday, just prior to the 11 a.m. funeral service.
News: (662) 252-4261 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions, comments, corrections: email@example.com
©2004, The South Reporter, All Rights Reserved.
No part of this site may be reproduced in any way without permission.
The South Reporter is a member of the Mississippi Press Association.
Site managed and maintained by
South Reporter webmasters Linda Jones, Kristian Jones
Web Site Design - The South Reporter
Back | Top of Page