Officer killed assisting accident victim
Published 6:00 am Wednesday, September 6, 2023
Sardis man’s vehicle rolled over after wreck
Law enforcement officials were shocked by the death of a well-known former state trooper in Panola County on the Labor Day holiday. Michael Griffin of Ripley died on the scene of an accident about a half-mile east of the Batesville city limits when he stopped to assist victims.
Griffin was well known in Panola County and many local law enforcement officers worked with him at the Highway Patrol or had occasion to cross paths in their professional work.
Sheriff Shane Phelps, himself a former MHP officer, said Monday’s tragic accident was “the worst thing I’ve ever seen.” He said officers across the state were stunned by the death of a colleague simply lending assistance to others. “When something like his happens its hard to even believe,” he said.
The following release, explaining the details of his death, was sent to media outlets by the MHP Monday afternoon.
On Monday, Sept. 4, at approximately 11 a.m., a Mississippi Highway Patrol Trooper and a sworn law enforcement officer with the Department of Public Safety came across a two-vehicle crash on Highway 6 in Panola County while traveling to Jackson.
Before their arrival, a 2016 Ford F-150 driven by 21-year-old Benjamin Jackson of Southaven, was traveling west on Highway 6 when it collided with a 2002 Lincoln LS driven by 64-year-old Dewitt Cole of Sardis, also traveling west on Highway 6.
After the crash, the retired trooper and current sworn LEO with DPS, 62-year-old Michael Griffin of Ripley, stopped to check on the driver of the Lincoln when the vehicle rolled on top of him. Michael Griffin received fatal injuries from the crash and was pronounced dead on the scene.
“Mike Griffin was family to Elee and me, and I’m devastated by the news of the tragic accident that took his life this morning. But I’m not in the least bit surprised he was on the side of the road trying to help someone in need – because that was just the kind of person he was. All day and every day….a Marine, a State Trooper, a servant of God, and just an all-around good dude,” said Gov. Tate Reeves.
“He loved his country, and he loved Mississippi (and he loved the Ole Miss Rebels) – but his true loves were Edna and Olivia. He never missed an opportunity to update me on how Edna was doing and how proud he was of Olivia. My heart breaks for both of them as I pray for God’s protection over them in these dark and difficult days.”
“Mike Griffin was a dedicated public servant and law enforcement officer for many years. On top of that, he was a wonderful friend to me and many others,” said Commissioner Sean Tindell. “He will be deeply missed by all who knew him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during these difficult times.”
“Mike Griffin was a lifetime public servant who gave his life doing what he was called to do. Whether as a U.S. Marine, a Mississippi Trooper, or a DPS Officer, Mike didn’t hesitate to stop to help those in need,” said Colonel Randy Ginn. “Mike was also a good friend who will be missed by everyone who knew him. Our thoughts and prayers go to Edna, Olivia, his family and friends.”
In 2021, Griffin retired from the Mississippi Highway Patrol as an Agent with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation. He continued his service with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, working as a liaison with law enforcement agencies and other governmental departments across Mississippi. He is survived by his wife, Edna, and daughter Olivia.
The crash remains under investigation by the Mississippi Highway Patrol.