Fifteen miles of Highway 90 have been renamed for a local hero. The dedication ceremony saw the late Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Smith’s family, friends and law enforcement peers celebrate his life.
Smith was killed in an ambush attack while responding to a house fire four years ago. He died trying to protect others. Smith’s loved ones remember him as a kind-hearted, larger-than-life personality who was equal parts jokester and protector. His widow, Erika Smith, had a special vision for which road should bear his name.
“When I was asked what road I wanted to dedicate in his honor, I knew I wanted U.S. 90. This road covers both Jefferson and Leon County, and always leads me home,” Smith said. “This road symbolizes his career. He left one county for another, yet eternally bonded to them both.”
Chris Smith spent 20 years of his career with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office before moving over to LCSO. Both agencies, including others, were in attendance.
State Senator Bill Montford also made remarks at Tuesday’s ceremony. Montford was essential in getting the Legislature to greenlight the renaming.
“A great thank you from all of this community, for a life that was dedicated to protect others,” Montford said.
In closing the ceremony, Sheriff Walt McNeil led a toast with Smith’s favorite beverage.
“Chris loved himself a Doctor Pepper, and I’m told that every shift he started it with a Doctor Pepper,” McNeil said.
The stretch of road now named after Smith runs from Chaires Cross Road in Leon to State Road 59 in Jefferson County.