Deputy Sheriff J’Mar Colin Abel, 24, was assisting the Roanoke Police Department in a car chase when he lost control of his vehicle, sliding off of County Road 278 and crashing. Chambers County Sheriff Sid Lockhart received the call about Abel’s crash at 3:45 p.m. CST.
“My understanding was the police department was chasing someone and one of my deputies right around the Georgia line spiked the car that they were chasing and managed to get them stopped. Then they got to looking and Deputy Abel hadn’t shown up so they called him on the radio and no answer, and so they went back up there and located him in a curve,” Sheriff Lockhart says.
He was taken to the West Georgia Medical Center in critical condition after the crash. There he was pronounced dead by Troup County Coroner Erin Hackley.
Sheriff Lockhart shares with News 3 how he remembers Abel.
“He was a very nice young man. He’s always been so professional and did an outstanding job,” Lockhart says.
Deputy Abel is survived by his fiancée, Jasmine Gaddist, of Auburn, and his father, Martin Abel, of Rainbow City. Sheriff Lockhart describes Abel as a caring and father-like figure.
“His fiancé was seven months pregnant with their child,” Lockhart shares. “I’ll tell you this little story. I look at Facebook every morning and the little stories they have on, you know, when you first open it up on the top. There was a picture of this deputy in uniform, doing pushups on the floor with his, well his fiancée had a child that was not my deputy’s, a prior child, that was four-years-old. That little four-year-old child was on the floor, doing pushups right beside him, beside the deputy. I saw that first, it was the first thing that popped up on my Facebook this morning was of him and the child and I thought, ‘well how sweet is that.’ Then this afternoon, you know, he is killed in an automobile accident. They said that this little child, the four-year-old, that he was about like the child’s father, you know, the little child just perceived him as his father. I just thought that was such a sweet picture.”
Lockhart remembers when Abel joined the sheriff’s office two years ago.
“The young man grew up and his father was in the service so he traveled quite a bit. His father was wanting him to join the service, but he wanted to get into law enforcement. He came to see me a little over two years ago, and he told me he was interested in getting into law enforcement, and we gave him that opportunity. He went to the police academy sometime last year, and he was a very nice young man. I never did, I can’t remember any complaints I’ve ever received on him,” Lockhart says.
Arrangements have not yet been made. Abel is the seventh Alabama law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty in 2022.