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Grief counselor supports deputies after deadly crash

7:28 PM, Nov 15, 2012   |    comments
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PAW PAW, Mich. (WZZM) - An Alabama man is facing murder charges in connection with a crash near South Haven that left a woman and two children dead.  David Glen Johnson will be charged with second degree murder, and drunk driving among other offenses. 

While family and friends continue to mourn the loss of their loved ones, the deputies who responded to the scene are also seeking emotional support.

At the Van Buren County Sheriff's Department, Dr. Bill Birch is known simply as "Doc."

"My job is to protect and serve the people who protect and serve," says Dr. Birch.

Dr. Birch, a counseling psychologist, is on standby for the three deputies who responded to a crash near South Haven, which left a women and two children dead Tuesday night.

"It's not something they see on TV, read about it in the paper. They experience it firsthand," says Dr. Birch.

Two-year-old Kandice Berryhill, 4-year-old Cassadi Berryhill, and 24-year-old Brittney King were all killed in the head on-collision.  The children's father, Justin Berryhill, was also injured in the crash.

"The officer I talked to this morning, his eyes were tearing up.  It's a tragic event and our hearts go out to the people who lost someone," says Sergeant David Walker with the Van Buren County Sheriff's Department.

Dr. Birch says he'll talk to the deputies just about anywhere they're comfortable and sometimes even in their patrol cars.

"A setting like this (in the patrol car) is much more relaxed," says Dr. Birch.

Dr. Birch says he tells deputies to share their feelings with someone they trust.

"It could be a co-worker, a family member, a minister," says Dr. Birch.

Dr. Birch says he will make himself available 24-7 for deputies that need help.  He does all his work at the Sheriff's Department for free.

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