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UPDATE: More information on crash that kills on-duty Tazewell Deputy

Jul 23, 2010 1:02 PM EDT
Deputy Shawn Hess Deputy Shawn Hess

Tazewell, Va. (WVVA) – More information as surfaced in connection to the fatal car crash that killed a Tazewell County Sheriff's Deputy early Friday morning.

Sheriff H.S. Caudill says Deputy Shawn Hess was responding to an emergency call in Richlands, traveling west on Route 460 around 5:30 a.m. when his cruiser struck a guardrail, flipping the
vehicle over an embankment. Deputy Hess was killed in the crash.  The
35-year-old Deputy served with the department for seven years.

The cause of the accident is unknown at this time and the Virginia State Police is investigating the crash.  Sheriff Caudill says that grief counselors are helping other deputies and staff
deal with the tragedy.

Below is a transcript of a press release from Richlands Police Chief William Puckett describing the nature of the call in which Deputy Hess was responding.


On Friday July 23, 2010, at approximately 3:57 A.M., a call was received by the Tazewell County 911 Center, requesting Fire & Rescue Units to respond to Crestview Mobile Home Park, 149
Gardenia Lane, Richlands, VA.  The nature of the call was that there was
a 15 Year Old Female, at that location who has just given birth to a
child and was in an active seizure.

At approximately 4:01 A.M., units of the Town of Richlands, Department of Police and Fire & Rescue arrived on the scene.  Upon their arrival at this location the units discovered a 15
Year Old Female, who at the time was in critical condition, who had just
within hours had given birth to a male infant.  Both the mother and
child were transported to Clinch Valley Medical Center in Richlands,

Upon further investigation at the scene, it was determined that the 15 Year Old Female, had been entered into NCIC, as a Missing Juvenile, from Lenoir, NC.  Also discovered at the scene was a
Kenny (nmn) King, 3175 Nutridge Lane, Lenoir, NC., Age 38.  Kenny (nmn)
King was also entered into NCIC as a wanted person, and had been
implicated in the disappearance of the 15 Year Old Female, from Lenoir,
NC.  At this time the Uniform Patrol Officer's whom, had originally
responded to the scene, requested that Criminal Investigators respond to
the scene to assist in the investigation.

Further investigation at the scene at 149 Gardenia Lane, Richlands, VA, resulted in the search of the residence and numerous articles of evidence as well as the seizure of a 2000 Chrysler
Concord.  It was also determined from the Criminal Investigators on the
scene that another possible connected to these activities
was located in a very remote section of Tazewell County, Virginia, as a
result of this determination a request for assistance was placed with
the Tazewell County Sheriff's Office and the Virginia State Police,
Bureau of Criminal Investigation.  At this time Tazewell County
Sheriff's Deputy Shawn Hess and other deputies were dispatched for
assistance.  While en route to this call Deputy Sheriff Shawn Hess lost
his life in the line of duty in a motor vehicle accident on State Rt.
19-460 in the Cliffield Section of Tazewell County.

Upon receiving medical treatment at the Clinch Valley Medical Center, the 15 Year Old Female, was transported by ambulance to the Johnson City Medical Center due to the local weather
conditions, rather than where she remains in critical
condition.  The infant male child remains hospitalized at the Clinch
Valley Medical Center, and is currently in the custody of the Tazewell
County Department of Social Services.

Kenny (nmn) King, 3175 Nutridge Lane, Lenoir, NC, has been arrested and charged with Abuse and Neglect of a Child (2 Counts) and a Fugitive from Justice from the State of North Carolina
where is wanted for Rape.  It has also been determined as a result of
the ongoing investigation that King, is the father of the infant male
child and also aid in the birth and delivery of the infant.  King, has
been remanded to the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail, in Tazewell,
Virginia without bond.

The investigation at this point is still ongoing with a joint investigation be conducted by the  Town of Richlands, Department of Police and Special Agents of the Virginia State Police,
Bureau of Criminal Investigation still gathering  evidence and executing
two additional Search Warrants.  Additional findings of the
investigation will be forwarded to the Tazewell County Commonwealth's
Attorney's and the North Carolina State Attorney's for any other
possible charges.

On behalf of the Town of Richlands, Department of Police and the citizens of the Town of Richlands,  we wish to express our deep sympathy to the family of Deputy Shawn Hess and the members of
the Tazewell County Sheriff's Office.  Deputy Hess was an excellent
deputy and served the citizens of Tazewell County above and beyond the
call of duty.

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