Sheriff Sammie Lee Varnado

Sheriff Sammie Lee Varnado

Copiah County Sheriff's Office, Mississippi

End of Watch Wednesday, May 16, 1973

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Sammie Lee Varnado

Sheriff Sam Varnado was struck and killed by a vehicle while conducting a traffic stop on Mississippi Highway 28, six miles east of Hazelhurst, at 5:45 pm.

Sheriff Varnado was standing between his patrol car and another vehicle off the side of the road when a speeding dump truck could not stop traveling down the hill. The truck skidded to a stop atop Sheriff Varnado's patrol vehicle. He and the driver of the stopped vehicle attempted to jump clear, but Sheriff Varnado was pinned between the cars. He was rushed to Baptist Hospital with both legs broken.
He succumbed to his injuries 19 days later.

The driver of the truck was charged with manslaughter.

Sheriff Varnado was a United States Army World War II veteran and had served with the Copiah County Sheriff's Office for 5-1/2 years. He was survived by his wife, son, and daughter. His wife served as Sheriff until a new election occurred.


  • Age 53
  • Tour 5 years, 6 months
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Struck by vehicle
  • Incident Date Friday, April 27, 1973

traffic stop

Most Recent Reflection

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Sheriff Varnado,
On today, the 50th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice-not just as a Law Enforcement Officer but for our Country as well when you served with the U.S. Army during World War II. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

May 16, 2023

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