FORSYTH COUNTY — A Georgia State Patrol trooper originally from Forsyth County will be recognized by the state 35 years after he died in the line of duty.
On Thursday, the state will be honoring Trooper Keith Sewell with a memorial bridge on U.S. 441 near Madison.
“The state is honoring him on Oct. 16 and is naming a bridge for him,” said Lonnie Sewell, his mother. “The bridge is just a short ways out of Madison … that’s the post where he was stationed.”
On Jan. 17, 1979, the 25-year-old trooper was responding to a call about a shooting in a park in Oconee County, outside of Athens.
“He was on his way there and for some reason his car wrecked,” his mother said. “The call said that there was a security guard surrounded by a motorcycle gang and they were shooting.”
“He never did make it to the park,” she said. “There were no witnesses, and they don’t know if he was forced off the road. There were rumors that a trucker forced him off the road, but there’s no proof of that.”
She went on to say that she suspected foul play due to Sewell’s clean driving record.
“He was an excellent driver. He had never had a speeding ticket or any traffic violation of any kind, and he graduated police academy second highest of his class, he was an outstanding young man.”
His son Brian, who was just 5 months old at the time of the crash, requested the bridge naming to preserve his father’s memory.
“Brian crosses this bridge every day on his way to work,” Sewell said. “And his two little boys cross it every day going to school.”
Keith Sewell was born in Forsyth County and attended what was then Forsyth County High School, where he was heavily involved in music and played tuba in the Flash of Crimson Marching Band and Red Peppers Pep Band.
After graduation, he attended Georgia Southern University and studied music and criminal justice. While earning his degree, he took a quarter off to decide which career path to take and worked for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.
“He also was a deputy in Forsyth County,” Sewell said. “He was the one that discovered the  fire in the courthouse and called it in.”