Chief Deputy of Prince Edward County Sheriff's Office Dies Unexpectedly

Farmville, VA - The Prince Edward County Sheriff's Office is preparing to bury one of its own.

David Eppes, the second in command, passed away unexpectedly Monday morning.

The chief deputy made an impact on officers all over the state. They couldn't pass through the academy without Major Eppes' signature.

He taught firearms and officer survival classes at the Criminal Justice Academy of Central Virginia.

But even people who have never worn a badge or heard his name -- have seen his face.

Phone messages. Summonses. Anywhere you look at David Eppes' office, there are little details of a life interrupted.

"If I had to summarize him, he was firm but fair," Sheriff Wesley Reed said of the Chief Deputy.

Eppes was the poster child for Virginia's pump and run campaign. He was selected by the former Prince Edward County Sheriff to replace the troopers' picture at gas stations across the state. The sheriff lobbied for the changes, arguing deputies, not state police, make the majority of arrests for gasoline theft.

"He's one that no one will ever forget. As long as they live, they will always remember David," Sheriff Reed added.

Major Eppes and Lieutenant Jimmy Farley shared an office together, shared nicknames together, and on Monday morning, they shared their final moments together.

"I was working at the time and responded there with Trooper Trombley. We performed CPR," Ferguson said.

The 51-year-old was pronounced dead at his home, despite passing a physical exam just one week before.

Word spread quickly to law enforcement departments across the state, whose officers he helped train.

Across the road, Farmville's Police Chief knew Eppes well.

"Disbelief to think that you won't see him driving that burgundy dodge charger anymore," Chief Doug Mooney said.

That patrol car will be the first in line following his casket. A line of blue and red -- and a legacy that will stretch well beyond the town of Farmville.

"He touched so many lives," Reed added.

An autopsy is being conducted to determine how Major Eppes died.

He will be laid to rest this Saturday at the Prince Edward County High School. The service starts at noon and the public is invited to attend.