LODD: Miss. sheriff's deputy struck by vehicle at checkpoint

The crash, which injured a second sheriff's deputy, appears to be an accident, officials said

Ray Van Dusen
Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Tupelo

HAMILTON, Miss. — The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, and the Monroe County community, are at a loss following a Saturday evening accident that claimed the life of one deputy and sent another one to the North Mississippi Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit for injuries.

According to Monroe County Sheriff Kevin Crook, Dylan Pickle, 24, died at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo. The second deputy, Zack Wilbanks, 27, underwent surgery for a broken leg Sunday afternoon. He also sustained head injuries.

Deputy Sheriff Dylan Pickle was struck and killed by a vehicle while conducting a safety checkpoint on July 25, 2020. (Photo/Monroe County Sheriff's Office)
Deputy Sheriff Dylan Pickle was struck and killed by a vehicle while conducting a safety checkpoint on July 25, 2020. (Photo/Monroe County Sheriff's Office)

“There were four deputies at a checkpoint on Hamilton Road near Seely Drive, and two were struck by a vehicle. As far as the accident, itself, the highway patrol is conducting the investigation, and it’s still under investigation, but it appears to be an accident,” Crook said.

The call came in to Monroe County 911 at 9:44 p.m. Both Pickle and Wilbanks were taken to NMMC by ambulance.

Monroe County Coroner Alan Gurley said Pickle was struck by a motorist at the above location. Pickle died during surgery at 12:01 a.m. from head trauma.

Wilbanks started his job at the MCSO shortly after Crook took office in January. He previously served for the Aberdeen and Amory police departments. Pickle was employed with the department for a while.

“He worked in the jail and sent himself to the academy at Moorhead about the time I was taking over. He came back from the academy, and we had just recently given him his shot and made him a patrol deputy. He was doing an awesome job. He won everybody over with his work ethic and attitude,” Crook said.

In addition to law enforcement, Pickle had served in the Mississippi National Guard.

“Both of them are great young deputies. Dylan had a bright future in front of him in law enforcement, and Zack still does. I think he’ll bounce back from this because he’s that kind of guy – resilient,” Crook said. “It’s like what was said many times, [Pickle] did what he had his heart set on doing.”

In addition to the MCSO, the Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department, the Mississippi Highway Patrol and MedStat also responded to the scene. The Aberdeen Police Department assisted in blocking the highway through town to allow ambulances to get to the hospital faster.

“I want to thank everybody. Everybody tried and did everything they could – Hamilton Fire Department and MedStat, even at North Mississippi Medical Center. They did everything they could, and we know it and appreciate it," Crook said.

Prayer requests were rampant on Facebook for the deputies following the incident, with tributes pouring in from numerous individuals; public officials such as Mississippi Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley and Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton; and the 1st Squadron, 98th Cavalry Regiment of the Mississippi National Guard.

“We just need continued support, people letting us know they’re there. We greatly appreciate that, especially prayers,” Crook said. “It’s been an outpouring. We appreciate everyone’s support. Keep the families of these two guys in your prayers.”

Gurley said E.E. Pickle Funeral Home is in charge of Pickle’s funeral arrangements.

©2020 the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (Tupelo, Miss.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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