WEBSTER PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – For the second time since July, law enforcement in Webster Parish are mourning the death of an officer in the line of duty.
Sheriff Jason Parker says Officer Trey Copeland, 47, was a deputy who worked as a corrections officer at Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center but was working in his role as a part-time officer with the Cotton Valley Police Department Tuesday evening when deputies requested assistance in a high-speed chase involving a motorcyclist who refused to stop.
Copeland joined in the pursuit, which Parker says reached speeds of up to 112 mph and lasted about 20 minutes. It ended with the motorcyclist, identified as Johnny Jenkins, crashing near the XTO Plant.
While first responders were attending to the motorcyclist, Copeland turned to one of them and told them he was not feeling well. He was taken to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. While the cause of his death has not been identified, Parker said Copeland had previous health issues and noted the high-stress nature of the job, particularly during and following a pursuit.
“Adrenaline and blood pressure goes through the roof, and it’s a very intense time,” Parker said.
Parker says Copeland served nearly 15 years in the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office. Before that, Copeland served for eight years in the U.S. Navy. He leaves behind a wife, two children, and two grandchildren. Memorial services have not yet been set.
Parker said Copeland was “one of those employees that loved his job. He loved what he was doing, loved serving the citizen and was very dedicated to the sheriff’s office and the citizens, and he will be missed.”
Copeland is the second law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty since July 9, when Webster Parish Deputy William “Billy” Earl Collins, Jr. was shot and killed while on duty as a Doyline reserve officer.
Jenkins was taken to Oschner LSU Health. Once he is recovered from his injuries, Sheriff Parker says he will be arrested and charged with aggravated flight and traffic offenses. Additional charges are possible since meth and paraphernalia were also allegedly found in Jenkin’s possession.