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Williamson officer charged after crash found dead

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A police officer on administrative leave from the Williamson Police Department was found dead in Kentucky on Monday, authorities said.

Jefferson Taylor III, 27, had been placed on leave about a week ago after being charged with driving under the influence by Kentucky State Police, Williamson Police Chief Dave Rockel confirmed Tuesday. His death is under investigation by Kentucky State Police, said Rockel, who declined to comment on a possible cause.

"We are deeply saddened by this event," Rockel said. "Mingo County has had its share of tragedy. Our prayers go out with this."

Taylor was found dead 5 p.m. Monday in the community of McCarr in Pike County, Ky., said Kentucky State Police Trooper Shaun Little of Pikeville Post 9, the law enforcement agency investigating the incident.

Rockel believes Taylor had been staying in the area with his parents.

Little said detectives were dispatched to the scene when Taylor's body was discovered. An autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday in Frankfort, Ky. Further details surrounding Taylor's death were not immediately available.

The death of the young police officer follows on the heels of another recent tragedy in that county.

Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum was fatally shot in downtown Williamson on April 3. He was gunned down in broad daylight while sitting in his department vehicle eating lunch near a pill mill that he had helped shut down.

The suspect in the shooting, Tennis Melvin Maynard, 37, of Delbarton, was shot in a police chase after the shooting. He has been indicted on charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and fleeing with reckless indifference. Maynard is still recovering in police custody at Cabell-Huntington Hospital, said West Virginia State Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Baylous. 

Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at or 304-348-1246.

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