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Virginia Sheriffs' Institute
Supporting Virginia’s Sheriffs & Deputies

A 52-year-old Spotsylvania County sheriff’s deputy was killed in the line of duty yesterday afternoon while on marine patrol at Lake Anna.

Deputy Dean Ridings was pronounced dead about 2 p.m., at Mary Washington Hospital from injuries suffered in a boating accident about 80 minutes earlier.

Another Spotsylvania deputy on patrol with Ridings, William Schroeder Jr., was treated and released yesterday from Mary Washington with what are being called minor injuries.

Police released few details about the accident but said it did not involve a crash with another boat.

Schroeder was operating the 19-foot Invader outboard boat at the time of the accident, said state police Sgt. Les Tyler.

Schroeder was thrown from the boat into the water while Ridings remained onboard. Other boaters on Lake Anna helped get Schroeder back to the patrol boat, which he then drove to shore at the state park.

Two ambulances took the pair to Mary Washington, with deputies escorting the ambulance transporting Ridings.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ Law Enforcement Division is investigating. More details are expected to be released today.

Members of the state police, Fredericksburg Police Department and Spotsylvania and Stafford sheriff’s offices gathered at the city’s police department yesterday to be close to the hospital, handle media inquiries and grieve for Ridings.

“You couldn’t keep up with that man,” said Spotsylvania sheriff’s Capt. Bill Gill. “He was a good man.”

Gill said Ridings was experienced on the marine patrol. He said Lake Anna was crowded yesterday.

Ridings, who lived in Spotsylvania and was a retired Marine, had been with the Sheriff’s Office since 2004. Two sons, Nicholas and Gordon, are also Spotsylvania sheriff’s deputies. Ridings was married and had three young grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete yesterday.

Ridings became the first Spotsylvania sheriff’s deputy killed in the line of duty since Sept. 22, 1988, when detective Richard Lee Samuels died at the age of 46 after suffering a heart attack while chasing a prisoner who had broken free from the county courthouse.

Reprinted from The Free Lance-Star
Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405
Email: [email protected]