Coweta County deputy killed, hit by Lanett officer vehicle during high-speed chase pursuit

Published 2:33 pm Thursday, January 4, 2024

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A multi-agency, high-speed chase on Interstate 85 Thursday morning resulted in the death of a Coweta County sheriff’s deputy after a Lanett Police Department officer in pursuit hit him with his patrol vehicle.

The Coweta County deputy, identified as Eric Minix, was killed when exiting his vehicle following a high-speed chase that had continued all the way into mile marker 78 just across the Alabama state line, according to a press release from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. A Lanett Police Department vehicle, a 2017 Ford Explorer, driven by Cornelius J. Robinson, 28, of Valley, struck Minix, who was exiting his vehicle, a 2017 Dodge Charger.

The accident occurred just before 1 a.m. ET, according to ALEA.

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“Eric, he’s like family, to each and every one of us,” Wood said during an emotional press conference Thursday afternoon. “His whole family is.”

Minix leaves behind a wife and three daughters. He started at the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office in 2014 before leaving for the Tyrone Police Department for five years, said Coweta County Sheriff Lenn Wood. Minix then came back to the CCSO.

Wood said stop sticks were deployed to stop the suspect vehicle as it went into Alabama.

“He stopped behind the car, was getting out of the car and starts giving orders for them on what to do, and as he is standing outside the car another police agency from Alabama came up, couldn’t stop and hit him,” Wood said.

Minix was taken to East Alabama Medical Center in Valley, where he was pronounced deceased.

“He was very much loved. He was a friend, a father, a son, a brother, but most of all he was a law enforcement officer first. That’s all he ever wanted to do,” Wood said.

Wood urged everyone to pray for Robinson and all of the other law enforcement agencies involved.

“But also pray for the Lanett Police Department and the officer involved there, and all the officers involved last night,” Wood said. “Pray for each and every one of them.”

The suspect, identified as 25-year-old De’cedric Vonche Donson of Pensacola, Florida, was apprehended and arrested on receiving stolen property in the first degree and felony attempting to elude charges. Donson was taken to the Chambers County Detention Center. Wood said the  vehicle was stolen out of Douglas County.

In unrelated charges, Donson had previously been arrested in Escambia County, Florida in March 2020 for battery, dealing in stolen property for a stolen gun, possession of a firearm by a felon and resisting an officer and a traffic violation. According to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, it was unclear if he lived in the area as he was listed as homeless on the arrest report.

The Coweta County Sheriff’s Office, Troup County Sheriff’s Office, Grantville Police Department, Lanett Police Department, West Point Police Department, Chambers County Sheriff’s Office and Georgia State Patrol (GSP) were all involved in the pursuit of the vehicle.

“Our hearts are heavy today as another Georgia law enforcement officer has lost their life in the line of duty. Earlier today a Coweta County Deputy was killed in an automobile accident after the conclusion of a vehicle pursuit that ended in Alabama on Interstate 85. Multiple agencies were assisting on scene including our own deputies who immediately rendered aid to the injured deputy,” a statement signed from Troup County Sheriff James Woodruff said. “We send our thoughts and prayers to Sheriff Lenn Wood, the staff of the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office and the family and friends of the deputy.”