A Pulaski County sheriff's deputy died in an early morning wreck Thursday in Pulaski County, Virginia State Police said.
The incident took the life of Sgt. Perry A. Hodge, 49, of Dublin, officials said.
Police said a 2011 Chevrolet pickup southbound on U.S. 11 crossed the center line and struck a northbound 1998 Ford pickup head-on. Hodge, who was driving the Ford, died at the scene. The driver of the Chevrolet, Michael D. Morris, 26, of Pulaski, was taken for treatment of serious injuries, police said.
The incident, to which police responded at 4:09 a.m., occurred north of Dublin and 1.3 miles south of Virginia 1170, police said. Neither driver was wearing a seat belt, police said.
The sheriff's office described Hodge, who oversaw school resource officers, as "a very dedicated public servant with over 15 years of loyal service to the citizens of Pulaski County." A department Facebook post talked about his passion for ensuring children felt safe and loved.
Other local law enforcement agencies also honored Hodge in a series of posts Thursday, as did the Virginia Sheriffs' Association.
Pulaski County Public Schools said its teachers and staff were devastated by the sergeant's loss.
"During his many years as a School Resource Officer, Sergeant Hodge proved to be a friendly face, valued mentor, and staunch advocate for thousands of students in Pulaski County," officials wrote. "May we each have as positive of an impact through our work as did Perry Hodge."
In an online post, Pulaski County Chairman Joe Guthrie said Hodge had been off-duty and headed to work out when the crash happened.
The county was left heartbroken by Thursday's news, Guthrie said. Flags at county facilities will be flown at half-mast in Hodge's honor.
"As we all know, Perry was, and is, loved by our community as a whole and very special to the many young lives he touched as the head of our School Resource Officer Program," Guthrie wrote.
The investigation into the crash remained ongoing Thursday morning, state police said.
Staff writer Alicia Petska contributed information to this report.