Former Cape Girardeau County sheriff died at 72

Friday, September 24, 2004

A former Cape Girardeau County Sheriff and Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper has died.

Dwight Thomas, 72, died Friday, Sept. 10, 2004, at Sikeston, Mo.

Thomas was elected sheriff in 1984 and resigned 14 months later following a grand jury investigation into a traffic accident involving Capt. Terri Curtis, one of his chief deputies. Curtis also resigned.

The grand jury was called following accusations that Thomas may have hampered an investigation into whether or not Curtis was intoxicated at the time of the accident.

"I didn't want to resign under all this adverse publicity, but it's gotten to the point where regardless of what happens now I think the damage is done," Thomas said at his resignation.

The Cape Girardeau County Commission appointed Norman W. Copeland, another former state trooper, as interim sheriff. Copeland served six months then won a special election and served out the remainder of Thomas's four-year term.

Thomas served seven years with the patrol and 20 years with the U.S. Treasury Department Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. After he retired, he began his own private investigation service.

The funeral was held Sept. 12 in Arbyrd, Mo.

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