Conservation Ranger Killed In ATV Accident

GON Staff | September 1, 1999

The Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Section is reeling over the loss of one of their own. On Thursday, Aug. 19, a conservation ranger was killed in the line of duty.

According to DNR, Conservation Cpl. Rocky Wainwright, 36, of Meansville in Pike County, was killed in an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accident around 10:30 a.m. in Twiggs County.

Cpl. Wainwright had been assisting in the search for an 11-year-old Twiggs County girl reported missing Aug. 15.

According to DNR, Cpl. Wainwright and another officer were riding on two ATVs on a paved, secondary road and were returning to their assigned search area from the search command center. One of the tires of Wainwright’s vehicle reportedly dropped off the edge of the pavement, causing him to lose control of the vehicle. The ATV left the road, struck a tree, and Cpl. Wainwright was thrown from the ATV.

Cpl. Wainwright had worked for the DNR Law Enforcement Section since Jan. 1, 1987. He was initially hired as a conservation ranger responsible for Montgomery and Toombs counties. He transferred to Pike County in 1989, and he was promoted to corporal in late July.

“Cpl. Wainwright was an outstanding ranger who was dedicated to wildlife law enforcement,” said WRD Law Enforcement Col. Walt Taylor. “He was well-regarded by fellow conservation rangers and had a fine reputation in his community.”

Cpl. Wainwright is survived by his wife and two children.

According to DNR Commissioner Lonnie C. Barrett, Cpl. Wainwright was the first conservation ranger killed in the line of duty in at least 25 years.

On Wednesday, Aug. 18, 20 DNR rangers and five WRD wildlife technicians were dispatched to Twiggs County to assist in the search for the missing girl.

At press time, the missing girl, Teresa Melissa Dean, of Twiggs County, who was reported missing from her home late in the evening of Sunday, Aug. 15, had not been located.

DNR Law Enforcement has asked that donations in Rocky’s name be made to the Turn In Poachers (TIPs) program. The TIP program pays rewards for information leading to the conviction of game-law violators.

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