Batesville, MS – Panola County Constable Eula Ray “Raye” Hawkins was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, when two teens in a stolen pickup crashed into his patrol car.
The incident began at approximately 2 p.m., when a Tallahatchie County deputy spotted a 2018 Chevrolet Colorado that had been reported as stolen, WREG reported.
The suspects, later identified as 15-year-old Jonathan Taylor and 16-year-old Darion Dogan, refused to pull over, and led police on a pursuit into Panola County.
Constable Hawkins, 57, responded to the scene by heading south on Highway 35 in his 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis patrol vehicle, WHBQ reported.
Meanwhile, Taylor and Dogan were heading northbound on the same roadway.
“The speed we believe the vehicle was going there was nothing [Constable Hawkins] could do,” District Attorney John Champion told WHBQ. “They crashed right into him and crushed him under the vehicle.”
Champion said that the force of the impact left the constable’s vehicle “crushed and mangled,” and killed him instantly, The Washington Post reported.
Constable Hawkins’ son, a Batesville police officer, was among the first law enforcement officers to arrive at the scene, Batesville Police Chief John McCloud told WREG.
“It’s a hard time,” Chief McCloud said. “It’s just a heartbreaking experience.”
Taylor and Dogan were uninjured in the crash, WMC reported.
They have been arrested on murder charges, and will be tried as adults, according to Champion.
"You see so much of this happen with these young kids who, in my opinion, don't care or don't understand the value of human life," the district attorney told WREG.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is handling the ongoing investigation into the fatal collision.
Constable Hawkins began his law enforcement career in 1990, when he was hired by the Batesville Police Department (BPD), WHBQ reported.
He later joined the Panola County Constable’s Office (PCCO), but continued to work closely with his colleagues at the BPD.
“Raye Hawkins was the kind of public servant that he came to help any time we had a problem in Batesville,” Chief McCloud said, according to WMC. “If Raye was in ear-shot of that radio, he was coming to help.”
Constable Hawkins dedicated 29 years of his life to his law enforcement career, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
“I’m devastated,” Champion told WHBQ. “I’ve been here 26 years and I’ve known him the whole I’m I’ve been here. It’s just an absolute tragedy that never should have happened.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Panola County Constable Eula Ray “Raye” Hawkins, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Constable Eula Ray “Raye” Hawkins, your life mattered.