Close this search box.

Deputy Sheriff Robert John Leonard

Deputy Sheriff R.J. Leonard died in a single-vehicle crash into the Tennessee River off the Blythe Ferry Boat Ramp in Birchwood.

Deputy Leonard was at home when he took the call relating to a disturbance near the Highway 60 Bridge in Birchwood. He arrived at the scene at about 9:48 p.m. and, at 10:15 pm, radioed that he had arrested a female subject and was transporting her to the Meigs County Jail. A few moments later, dispatchers received an unclear transmission where Deputy Leonard mentioned “water.” The area is remote and rural, and it is difficult for cellphone signals and other radio traffic to go through. When he failed to respond to a status check, a search began.

The next day, his patrol car was found upside down in the water with the female subject in the back. His window was rolled down, and he was not in the vehicle. His body was recovered at 6:30 p.m. on February 15, 2024.

Deputy Leonard had served with the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office for two months. He is survived by his wife, five children, mother, and two siblings.

Skip to content