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Driver arrested, charged with deputy's death

On the same day of the funeral for the Pike County sheriff's deputy killed in a three-vehicle crash, investigators announced one of the drivers involved has been arrested in the case.

Kentucky State Police say David W. Childers is charged with one count of murder in connection with Monday's crash on U.S. 460 in Pike County involving Deputy James I. Thacker. Childers is being held in the Pike County Detention Center.

Thacker's death is the first involving a law enforcement officer in Kentucky in 2012.

Deputy Thacker's death has had a big impact all across Pike County where a thousand people were expected for today's funeral. Officers and deputies from throughout the state filled the East Ridge High School gymnasium to honor and pay their respects to deputy Thacker.

Thacker's fellow deputies say the turn out of people at the funeral is a testament to the kind of man Thacker was. Bert Hatfield, Pike County Sheriffs deputy says, "He was just the kind of person you could count on if you needed something. He was always glad to do to for you."

In an open casket ceremony, Thacker was seen wearing his sheriff's deputy uniform. It was something he was proud of. "He believed he could make a difference. He was immensely proud of his uniform and his badge and what they represent, says Eric Johnson, Director of Supporting Heroes.

Some police officers traveled nearly 200 miles to attend the funeral of a fellow officer. "I'm sad for the family. Just heart broken for the family and just hope that they can get some type of peace knowing how many friends he had," adds Hatfield.

Other law enforcement agencies in the area are also feeling the loss. The deputy's death has rattled law enforcement agencies in Pike County. "Our condolences go out to the family. I'm sure all the fire departments feel the same way. It's a very tragic accident," Millard Fire Chief Glen Adkins said.

Officers from Pike County Sheriff's Department, Pikeville Police Department, and Kentucky State Police were all on scene late Monday night to help with the accident.

Police say something like this makes them take a moment to think about their jobs.

"Anytime you lose someone in law enforcement it makes you think about your own job and your role here," Pikeville Police Sergeant Aaron Thompson said.

The last eastern Kentucky sheriff's deputy killed in the line of duty was Bell County Deputy Sean Pursifull. Pursifull and his K9, King, were killed four years ago this month. A Delaware teenager crashed his car into Pursifull's cruiser during a chase and later pleaded guilty to wanton murder.

James Thacker leaves behind his wife, Cathy, six children and six grandchildren.

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