Family and friends said their final goodbyes Wednesday to a beloved Montgomery County sheriff's deputy who was killed last weekend while on patrol.
Officials say 52-year-old David "Bubba" Johnson was driving his patrol car west on the Highway 41A bypass when he left the road and hit a tree around 11:20 p.m. Sunday.
News of Johnson's death sent shock waves through Clarksville's public safety community.
"I couldn't think of anybody more fitting for the job that he did. He loved what he did - loved what he did for the county, and what he did for the sheriff's office. We're very saddened today for him and his family," said Montgomery County Sheriff John Fuson.
Johnson was patrolling the area Sunday night like he had for the past 16 years when a neighbor heard the crash and called 911.
"It's an immensely sad day for public safety in Clarksville and Montgomery County," said Clarksville EMS Director Jimmy Edwards.
Edwards worked with Johnson early in his career when he served as a medical technician. By 1987, Johnson had made the move to officer for the Clarksville Police Department.
Clarksville Police Chief Al Ansley recalls going through the academy together.
"I guess the greatest compliment I could give Deputy Johnson was that if you needed him, you can guarantee he was there. I'm going to miss him. I was shocked when I heard the news. He was a great officer, great deputy, great servant to public safety," Ansley said.
Johnson's infectious laugh earned him the nickname "Barney Rubble," but when it came to law enforcement, he was a no-nonsense kind of guy.
"There's not much else you could do to serve public safety in a county other than to serve all three agencies, and Bubba did so very diligently," Fuson said.
And he'll perhaps be best remembered for his patience. Co-workers say they never saw him angry a day in his life.
"He loved what he did, and he just had that demeanor about him that made him well suited for what he did. He was well liked on both sides - both professionally and personally," Fuson said.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol said no drugs or alcohol were involved in the crash, and Johnson was wearing his seat belt. It appears to have been a terrible accident.
In lieu of flowers, his family is asking that people make a donation to the Clarksville Girls Softball Association, where Johnson helped coach a team for many years.
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