Candidate for Washington Co. sheriff killed while jogging

Published 4:11 pm Friday, October 12, 2007

An independent candidate for Washington County sheriff was killed when he was struck by a truck early Thursday morning while jogging.

Washington County Sheriff Milton Gaston says no foul play is suspected in the death of Jimmy Ray “Taco” Wilkerson Jr. But he has asked the Mississippi Highway Patrol to conduct an investigation because Wilkerson was his opponent in the upcoming election.

He did not name the driver of the truck that struck Wilkerson around 6:30 a.m.

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Gaston says the driver stayed at the scene and called authorities after realizing he had hit someone. Deputies found Wilkerson’s body in the ditch along Wilmot Road.

Coroner Methel Johnson says she pronounced the 33-year-old dead at the scene.

An autopsy has been ordered and Wilkerson’s body will be sent to the state crime lab in Jackson.

Wilkerson, a graduate of Delta State University, previously worked for the sheriff’s department and the Greenville police. He also had a year with the U.S. Border Patrol.

Wilkerson was Gaston’s only opponent in the Nov. 6 general election.