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RCSO Deputy Wrecks Patrol Car on Return Trip from Training Center; He Resigns After Drug Test

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A Richmond County sheriff’s deputy wrecked his patrol car in a single-vehicle wreck earlier this month and resigned after taking a drug test, authorities said.

Deputy Vernon Johnson

Deputy Vernon Johnson resigned prior to meeting with Internal Affairs about the results of the drug test, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Caleb Lee. The results of the drug test were not released.

“The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office cannot comment on the results of his lab work as this information is protected under HIPAA and the GA Open Records Act,” Sgt. Lee said. “Per protocol, a drug screen was administered.  Once our office received the results, Dep. Johnson was advised to report to Internal Affairs for an interview; however, he tendered his resignation prior to the interview.”

The accident happened outside of Richmond County and was handled by Georgia State Patrol, and details were not immediately available. The sergeant referred questions on the extent of the car’s damage to Augusta Risk Management.

A source told The Jail Report that Deputy Johnson was in Forsyth taking a class and wrecked a RCSO vehicle at the time. The sheriff’s office did not confirm those details.

In May 2018, Deputy Johnson was honored for five years of distinguished service, according to a RCSO website.

Alvin Hester Jr.

Deputy Johnson was one of the officers who shot at convicted drug dealer Alvin Theodore Hester Jr. last fall at the Augusta Mart on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, according to authorities. Hester is accused of shooting and killing Investigator Cecil Ridley in an incident that will be prosecuted as a death penalty case.

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Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.
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