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Loved ones reflect on year after trooper’s death


Posted on Dec 28, 2011

MARIETTA – One year ago today, Trooper First Class Chadwick “Chad” LeCroy set off for his shift as a Georgia State Trooper, but he didn’t come back.

About 11 p.m. on Dec. 27, 2010, the 38-year-old trooper attempted to pull over Gregory Favors, of Atlanta, on Bolton Road near South Cobb Drive, just inside Interstate 285 in northwest Atlanta. Favors, 31, reportedly fled the scene, leading LeCroy on a short car chase about a mile south before crashing his 2007 Mazda on Hightower Road and St. Paul Avenue. Authorities believe he opened fire on LeCroy, hitting him once in the neck, as LeCroy approached Favors’ car.

After shooting LeCroy, Favors drove off in the state trooper’s patrol car but was apprehended with the help of Cobb Police, one street east, near Gun Club Road and Gun Club Park, where he had ditched the trooper car, authorities say.

LeCroy died in an ambulance on the way to Grady Memorial Hospital, according to the police report. Favors remains in the Fulton County Jail after being charged with felony murder and aggravated assault on Dec. 28, 2010.

LeCroy's widow, Keisha LeCroy, was too upset to talk about the anniversary of her husband’s killing. However, his stepmother, Tonya LeCroy of Marietta, said the death of their loved one has been tough on her family.

“It’s torn up his dad (Bill LeCroy) a lot,” she said. “He was very proud of what Chad had accomplished in such a short time as a trooper.”

LeCroy also left behind two sons, Bret, 22, and Chase, 11; his 21-year-old brother, Jamie LeCroy; two half brothers, Jake LeCroy, 12, and Jack LeCroy, 15; his mother, Donna Houston and stepfather, Stan Houston.

Those who loved LeCroy and even those who never knew him but are appreciative of his dedication to law enforcement, have all done what they can to honor the state trooper.

Tonya LeCroy’s son, Jake, plays baseball in honor of LeCroy on a local recreational team and travel team.

“Every game that Jake played in this year, the jersey with 744 (LeCroy’s badge number) on it was in the dugout,” Tonya LeCroy said. “It was for good luck, their thing to hold onto.”

The family also honored LeCroy at a dedication ceremony in Washington D.C. this past spring.

“His name is on a memorial for lost law enforcement officers there and at a memorial at the Georgia Public Safety Training office in Forsyth,” she said. “There is also a traveling memorial trailer with all the names of the officers who have passed in Georgia, including Chad’s.”

Tonya LeCroy said it makes her feel good to know that her stepson’s service meant so much to so many people.

“It’s like a huge, little family,” she said. “They look after each other and they look after the families, too.”

Sgt. Jeff Shoemaker with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office and John Stewart of Hoschton are circulating an ammo box in honor of LeCroy.

“My wife and I fixed up an ammo box that travels around the state from officer to officer and each officer has 744 minutes to respectfully pass it on to another fellow officer and it will be traveling for 744 days,” Stewart said.

The box, donated by Ruck Sack Military Store in Gainesville, began circulating in October with Shoemaker but the 744 days will not officially begin until today, Stewart said.

“We wanted something to recognize his sacrifice and to show caution to the other men and women to keep a constant reminder of how quickly things can evolve and turn into a bad situation,” Shoemaker said.

Both Stewart and Shoemaker follow the ammo box on the “Trooper 744 Traveling Memorial” page on Facebook.

“It’s a pretty neat little thing,” Shoemaker said. “I’ve had an interesting time following it.”

As a free mason, a fraternity which many law enforcement officers are a part of, Stewart was privileged to make the box.

“I felt like this was something we needed to do to help the family cope and to help his fellow officers to be mindful of his sacrifice and be very careful of every traffic stop,” Stewart said. “There’s no such thing as a routine traffic stop.”

Many officers traveling with the ammo box put their patches in it and keep a journal of its journey. When the box is finished circulating, Stewart said they will present it to Keisha LeCroy and her family.

The state trooper is also being remembered at his former post in Atlanta, Post 48, said Marietta Post 9’s Corp. Ron Calvert, who served alongside LeCroy. His name is on a headstone at the location.

Calvert described LeCroy as a rambunctious, aggressive trooper.

“It’s like every profession. You can teach a person only so much but that person has to have the desire and will and that was what was so special about Chad,” Calvert said. “For a trooper to have been on the road for as few years as he had without past law enforcement experience … he was confident in what he did, good at what he did, knowledgeable. It was a natural calling for him and I’m not sure why he waited so long to start that profession.”

LeCroy joined the force in 2008 and worked with Calvert on the crimes suppression unit out of Atlanta.

“We helped provide more coverage downtown, to help prevent crimes against students. We were a six-man unit and our primary goal was to go downtown around universities, Georgia State and Georgia Tech, and make our presence known and deter crime,” Calvert said.

The night that LeCroy was shot and killed, he was listening to the police radio.

“I knew, as soon as he didn’t answer his radio (something happened),” he said.

By the time Calvert got to the hospital, his friend had already passed away.

“I have lost someone in the line of duty in the past — it was a car crash — but with circumstances like this, when you think the officer is such an outstanding officer, you don’t expect something to happen,” Calvert said.

The case is still ongoing and been anything but quick for the trooper’s mourning family.

“Keisha has been keeping up with his case,” Tonya LeCroy said. “The court dates continue to be postponed. She wanted it to be a speedy trial and that’s not happened.”

Favors has pleaded not guilty in the killing, and at the time of the incident, he was on probation and was well known amongst law enforcement agencies in both Cobb and Fulton counties.

After the killing, state corrections officials reviewed Favors' probation status, but department officials refused to give details of the outcome of that probe. They insisted the information is confidential.

Jail and court records show Favors has an extensive criminal history, including 19 arrests that date back to 1998 when he was 17 years old. Previous charges include theft, possession of cocaine, criminal damage, obstruction of an officer and reckless driving.

The case is being prosecuted by the Fulton County District Attorney’s office led by Paul Howard Jr. Favors’ trial, which will be held before Judge Shawn Ellen LaGrua in the Superior Court of Fulton County, is not scheduled until next fall. 

 Atlanta personal injury attorney Shane Smith would like to offer his heartfelt condolences to the LeCroy Family.
 

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Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia