New sign honors fallen deputy in Whitfield County
(Editor's note: This story was contributed to NewsChannel 9 by Mitch Talley, Whitfield County Director of Communications.)
New signs were placed at an intersection of Cleveland Highway by the Department of Transportation in memory of the Whitfield County Deputy Durwin Potts who passed away 22 years ago.
Several of the 15 officers from that time still working at the Sheriff’s Office were among those who gathered for a ceremony near one of the signs memorializing the fallen deputy on the state highway Monday afternoon.
Two “Deputy Durwin Potts Memorial Intersection” signs have been placed facing north and south, one near the Mapco convenience store and the other near the Waffle House.
The signs were the result of a resolution introduced by Rep. Bruce Broadrick, R-Dalton, to dedicate the intersection of Cleveland Highway and Waring Road in the deputy’s memory.
Former Rep. Roger Williams, who represents Whitfield County on the state transportation board, also supported the resolution.
The process took more than a year as the transportation committees in both chambers and the House and the Senate had to pass the resolution.
“We are honored to remember Deputy Potts, who may have been the first county law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty – certainly the first to pass away during my tenure,” Sheriff Scott Chitwood said.
Potts was headed south on Cleveland Highway in December 1995, responding as a backup to another officer with his blue lights and siren on, when he had to dodge a northbound vehicle that turned left in front of him onto Waring Road. The deputy swerved, hit the median, and flipped his car several times.
“When he flipped the car, Durwin had his window down and his head hit the pavement, but he was up walking around and talking to everyone afterwards so we thought he was going to be fine,” recalled Chitwood, who was at a conference in Atlanta when the accident occurred.
Potts was admitted to the hospital for precautionary observation, and a few hours later, he began to suffer from bleeding on the brain, succumbing to his injuries about 24 hours later on Dec. 21.
The sheriff said Potts has previously been honored at the Law Enforcement Memorial in Forsyth and his name is also on the memorial wall in Washington, D.C.