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Thread: Deputy killed in off duty crash
01-05-09, 10:07 PM #1
Deputy killed in off duty crash
This was a friend of mine. I spent 2 days at the hospital until he passed away. It was the saddest thing I have ever experienced.
UPDATED: Smyth County sheriff’s deputy dies
Smyth County News: News >
Mon Jan 05, 2009 - 01:17 PM
By DAN KEGLEY/Staff
It took forces larger than the power of his dedication to end the service, and then the life, of young Smyth County sheriff’s deputy Chris Paschal.
At age 37, Paschal died Sunday, two days after sustaining critical head injuries in an accident on icy Interstate 81.
He was off duty Friday and traveling with his wife, Kasey, and daughter, Keyleigh, when he saw an accident, one of more than 100 in three counties caused by ice and snow Friday morning. As he telephoned central dispatch to report that accident, police said, the Paschals’ vehicle lost traction on the ice.
The 2001 Mitsubishi SUV “ran off the road to the right, overturned twice and came to rest on its wheels,” said Virginia State Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Conroy.
“He was on the phone with the dispatcher, saying there was an accident, and all of a sudden he advised her he was wrecking. Then he lost contact,” said Smyth County Sheriff David Bradley. “He was ejected.”
That was around 7:45 a.m. Friday at the 40.5 mile marker on northbound Interstate 81, Conroy said.
Paschal’s wife and daughter escaped injury.
An online blog maintained by Mike Paschal from North Carolina said in a 5:59 p.m. Friday posting that “My older brother was in a car accident this morning in the mountains of [Virginia]. Chris was thrown out the sun roof of the vehicle.”
Paschal was taken to Smyth County Community Hospital and transferred by ambulance to Bristol Regional Medical Center.
Weather conditions kept medical evacuation helicopters grounded. “Med-Flight was unable to come up, and we understand that,” Bradley said.
Mike Paschal’s blog posted regular updates that provide a narrative of hope and ultimately of grief over the following hours. Just seconds after the initial posting came this: “They have stopped the bleeding and are prepping him for surgery now… this is good news.”
Posted at 8:38 Friday evening (with typographical errors corrected): “Chris just got out of surgery and he is recovering right now… he is still in ICU and they have not closed up his head just yet. They are watching him right now. Doctors say it is up to him and God right now how well his body heals. He is responsive and able to move hands and toes and squeeze his wife’s hand when she says “I Love You.“
1:03 a.m. Saturday: “Just talked to my younger brother who is up there right now. He said it was hard seeing him in the ICU, but he feels like he is going to pull through. He is sleeping right now from the heavy sedation he is on, but things are looking OK right now… thanks for continuing to pray!”
1:42 a.m. Saturday: “My father just called and Chris started to actually take breaths on his [own]! He is still on a respirator, but him breathing slowly on his own is a BIG sign! So once again… KEEP PRAYING!! God is listening right now to you guys.”
2:03 p.m. Saturday “Woke up this morning to a bad phone call. Chris is running a bad temperature, blood pressure is way down, and they lost him early but CPR brought him back. They are running tests right now to see if fluid is getting to his brain. We are heading up to VA now
And then, at 1:25 a.m. Monday: “I hate to type this… around 4:30 today my incredible brother Chris Paschal passed away. He is in Heaven. He touched more lives than I knew.” And a few seconds later: “Chris was the greatest husband, father, son, and brother anyone could ask for. I hope I become the husband and father he was.”
“He was an outstanding officer,” Bradley said. “Dedicated 110 percent. He loved his job and was ready to go at any time.”
So much did he love it, he refused to take time off after an on-duty collision last fall. Investigator Alan Morgan recalled that after a car turned left into the path of Paschal’s cruiser, “he was at work the next day. He was sore and stiff, but he told me, ‘I had to get back to work.’”
Paschal was in the sheriff’s office for eight years, during which time “he wanted to do it all,” the sheriff said.
Paschal started out as a road officer and added membership on the Dive Team and, last August, the Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team. SERT is a specialized unit of 10 deputies with intensive training for responding to hostage situations and barricaded persons, executing search warrants on major drug cases, and serving high-risk warrants, the sheriff’s office Web site said.
In 2007 Paschal and Ben, his K9 partner, graduated from the 13-week Virginia State Police/Southwest Law Enforcement Academy narcotics dogs handling class, adding that service to his repertoire of law enforcement and public service skills.
“It takes a very motivated individual to do this job,” said Paschal’s sergeant, Mike Hounshell, after the graduation.
“He loved that dog,” Bradley said Monday. “That dog was his livelihood.” The sheriff said Ben was highly ranked for his abilities. “That was Chris working with him. A hundred and ten percent.”
If his career blossomed under Bradley, it was Saltville Police Chief Steve Surber who gave Paschal his start in police work. “All I can ever say is good about him,” Surber said Monday.
“I hired him Nov. 1, 1999,” Surber said as he thumbed through Paschal’s file in the Saltville PD headquarters, a file he said that held no complaints about the rookie officer he said was eager to learn about police work.
“He would listen” when he was out riding with other officers. “He wanted to learn.”
“He was a student of this profession,” Hounshell said. “He was always striving to learn everything that could be learned.”
Surber said Paschal never forgot where he started.
“I kept up with him,” Surber said, “and he never forgot us.” In fact, Surber said Paschal took Ben to Saltville to help police work a case two days before the accident.
Surber took Paschal’s death hard. “It just breaks my heart. I’ve not slept a good night since this happened.”
Paschal’s ejection from the vehicle Friday called into question whether he was wearing a seatbelt, and both his chief and his sheriff were confident that he was. He likely removed it in preparation to be of service at the accident, Surber and Bradley said.
“I believe in my heart that he unsnapped his seatbelt either to get to his phone or to get out when he stopped,” Surber said. Bradley said when his officers arrive on scene, they’re ready to go to work.
In the sheriff’s office Monday afternoon, a dozen deputies gathered in Hounshell’s office, setting a surreal scene where tears moistened eyes of big, world-hardened men openly talking of their emotions, sometimes openly weeping. A deep love is forged in ranks of those ready to die for each other but who now stood powerless to save one of their own from a vehicle turning over on an iced-covered highway.
“It’s hard to see the good in this,” said Tony Powers, “but we’ve seen how close we are, how much we love each other. We’ll miss him for a long time.”
“As his supervisor I can honestly say there was nothing negative about him,” Hounshell said.
Michael Lowe said Paschal was “a family man in every sense of the word,” and a man of deep faith.
Tony Powers said Paschal “was a great friend, a great person, a great husband, a great Christian, a great father, a great man. If you want to great all day, we can.”
Hounshell looked around the room and recalled the accident Friday. “If it had been me or you, you, you or you, Chris would be there.”
Morgan said Paschal’s death “created a hole here we can’t fill with 20 people, 40 people. There are not enough adjectives to describe the good he created around him.”
That good began with Paschal’s community service that went back to before his law enforcement career started. He was a volunteer with the Chilhowie Rescue Squad when it was separate from the fire department.
And Whitley pointed out Paschal’s service has not, in fact, come to an end.
“He was an organ donor,” Whitley said. “Others will gain from our loss.”
In addition to his wife and daughter, Paschal is survived by a son, Tanner.
A relief fund has been set up up at the Bank of Chilhowie for the Paschal family.
Checks should be payable to the Deputy Chris Paschal Relief Fund, Bank of Chilhowie, PO Box 1560, Chilhowie, VA 24319"And don't go home, and don't go to eat, and don't play with yourself. It wouldn't look nice on my highway", Buford T. Justice
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01-05-09, 10:16 PM #2
What a horrible tragedy. I'm so very sorry for your loss. May he rest in peace. My thoughts are with you and the rest of his friends and family.
01-05-09, 10:28 PM #3
Thoughts, prayers and many hugs are on the way.Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.
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01-05-09, 10:29 PM #4
Choose The Right. When you're doing whats right, then you have nothing to worry about.
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01-05-09, 10:41 PM #5
Day Is Done
Gone The Sun
From The Hills , From The Lake, From The Sky
All Is Well , Safely Rest;
GOD Is Nigh
The Good Lord must have needed a good cop in heaven. Sorry for your loss , Vendetta. Sounds like we all suffered a loss. May God comfort his family and friends. Rest In peace Deputy Paschal.SI VIS PACEM PARA BELLUM-Ex-Sheriff Martin Howe to Will Kane in "High Noon"
"It's a great life. You risk your skin catching killers and the juries turn them loose so they can come back and shoot at you again. If your honest , your poor your whole life. And , In the end , you wind up dying all alone on some dirty street. For what? For nothing. For a tin star."
Far from being a handicap to command, compassion is the measure of it. For unless one values the lives of his soldiers and is tormented by their ordeals , he is unfit to command.
-General Omar Bradley, United States Army
01-05-09, 10:45 PM #6
Rest well Deputy Paschal. Sorry for your loss, Vendetta.
01-05-09, 10:51 PM #7
Thoughts and prayers to you and the family, Vendetta."Like" us on facebook! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Offic...93147194083228
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01-05-09, 10:55 PM #8
RIP Brother Paschal.
Vendetta, many prayers to you & God bless you for being at the hospital. Prayers and condolences to his family and friends. May you each find the strength to carry on!The true measure of your character is what you choose to do when you think no one is looking.
01-05-09, 11:16 PM #9
My condolences, May he Rest in Peace.
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