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A final salute to fallen trooper

By Ed Brock

Her voice shaky with emotion, leaning on the arms of two men, Misty Lumley spoke to the throng of people gathered to tell her husband a final good-bye.

"He was the best daddy to my girls and he was the best husband. He completed us all," Lumley said. She then turned to the flag draped coffin in which her husband, Tony, lay.

"I love you," she said.

Georgia State Trooper Tony Lumley, 36, died Tuesday from injuries he sustained in an accident Monday night. That accident happened in Spalding County as he was chasing 26-year-old Kenneth Bradley Medlock of Newnan, a suspect in a robbery in Clayton County.

The Rev. Al Shackleford began his eulogy Friday by reading a letter from Lumley's daughter Brooke to the crowd that completely filled the sanctuary of the Griffin First Assembly of God.

"My daddy was the best dad ever. He made everybody laugh. He gave us strength. He was my heart. He was the best ever," she wrote.

State Patrol Commander Col. George Ellis called Lumley a member of the "blue shirt family," a family to which Misty Lumley and the girls will always belong. At one point Gov. Sonny Perdue choked up as he spoke to Misty Lumley and the couple's two daughters Nikki and Brooke.

"Georgia and all its citizens were better because of your husband and the others he represented in uniform, the peace keepers," Perdue said. "God bless you, God bless you, God loves you."

Shackleford related his own memories of Lumley, the man he described as a unique prankster.

"I have to say the first time I met Tony I thought what gives with this guy," Shackleford said. "But it didn't take me 20 minutes to fall in love with him – Tony had things that he said and things that he did that just made him Tony."

Lumley ran full speed all the time, Shackleford said, and when he walked into a room he was always the center of attention. He loved his job, Shackleford said.

"I don't think they had to pay him. He would have just done it, he loved it so much," Shackleford said.

The seven-mile procession of vehicles from law enforcement agencies around the state on Friday passed a large number of onlookers on the side of the road as they carried Lumley, who lived in The Rock in Upson County, to his burial in Moody Memorial Gardens in Zebulon.

As the hearse passed Trooper Wayne Davity he saluted before joining the procession as well.

On the night of the accident that took his life, Lumley, who had been on the road as a trooper for about a year, was patrolling near Ga. Highway 16 and U.S. Highway 19/41 near Griffin when he joined the chase with units from Clayton County and other agencies. The man they were chasing was suspected of beating and robbing four men in a parking lot on Upper Riverdale Road and firing on those men when they tried to chase him.

The pursuit went on to Ga. Highway 16 where Lumley apparently tried to perform a "pit" maneuver, pushing the front of his car against the side rear of Medlock's pickup truck to force him off the road. Both cars left the roadway, Lumley's patrol car turning end over end.

Medlock, also a father of two and an employee of Direct TV, survived with minor injuries. In Clayton County he has been charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault and felony fleeing.

More charges are expected to be filed against him in Spalding County.