The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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August 18, 2012

Newton County sheriff’s deputy placed on leave after fatal wreck

A Neosho man was killed Friday night when the motorcycle he was driving was hit from behind by a deputy of the Newton County Sheriff’s Department. That deputy has since been placed on leave.

Sheriff Ken Copeland said Sgt. David B. Trimble was responding to an emergency call just before 9 p.m. Friday with his vehicle’s full lights and sirens on. Trimble was southbound on Gateway Drive, about a mile and a half south of Joplin, when his vehicle struck Cory E. Sheppard’s motorcycle, also southbound, the sheriff said.

Sheppard, 33, was pronounced dead at the scene at 9:45 p.m. by Newton County deputy coroner Lee Ireland, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. His body was taken to Parker Mortuary in Joplin, the patrol said.

“At this time it looks like nothing more than a tragic, tragic accident,” Copeland said by telephone Saturday.

Trimble, who has been with the sheriff’s department for about nine years, has been placed on paid administrative leave, Copeland said. Trimble was not injured in the wreck.

“He’s not going to work for a few days until we get it figured out,” Copeland said. “It’s just common procedure that’s done any time an officer is involved in a fatality,” such as a traffic crash or a shooting.

Copeland said it will be the responsibility of the state highway patrol to fully investigate the crash, as it routinely does for accidents occurring within the county and outside city limits.

It was unclear Saturday how long that investigation could take.

The highway patrol officer who responded Friday to the scene of the crash, Cpl. Tyler Moreland, was not available Saturday for further comment.

A team from within Copeland’s department will also review the wreck, which the sheriff said is standard departmental procedure whenever a deputy is involved in an accident.

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