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Sheriff’s deputy killed in Friday accident

A Decatur County Sheriff’s deputy was killed in a vehicle accident while off-duty on Friday, Dec. 19.

Sheriff’s Investigator Melanie L. Wood, 33, of Donalsonville, Ga., died from injuries received in a single-vehicle rollover crash. Wood and a friend were traveling along U.S. 319 north of Tifton, Ga., Sheriff Wiley Griffin said.

The Georgia State Patrol attributes the accident to an object or animal in the road when the crash occurred shortly before 8 p.m. Friday night.

Wood’s friend, 39-year-old Regina Daniels of Donalsonville, was also killed in the accident, Griffin said. They were traveling to Hazlehurst, Ga., about 74 miles northeast of Tifton, to visit Wood’s family.

Wood resided in Jeff Davis County prior to moving to Donalsonville and was an investigator for the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office since April 2007.

She was a member of the Decatur County SWAT Team, the Decatur County Board of Department of Family and Children’s Services, which monitors the welfare of children of Decatur County, and was nominated employee of the year for 2008.

She was raising two young children, whom her brother had already taken to Hazlehurst, Griffin said.

“She was a very sweet person, who was dedicated to her work,” Griffin said. “We are all going to miss her greatly.”

A memorial book was set up for friends and family to sign at the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office.

Daniels was a speech therapist with the Seminole County Board of Education and an EMT with the Seminole County Ambulance Service.

This is the second member of the Sheriff’s Office to lose their life in 2008.

Deputy Robert Griffin, 44, was killed in an automobile accident while responding to a call involving a juvenile threatening suicide at approximately 9:30 a.m. on May, 1. His patrol car left the roadway on Brinson Airbase Road and struck a large tree on the vehicle’s driver’s side.

A passing motorist called E-911 to report the accident. Griffin was pronounced dead at the scene.

Griffin was a U.S. Navy veteran and had been with DCSO for three years. He was survived by his wife, three children, and mother.