10/27/2007

Off-duty Fla. officer dies in turnpike crash

By Susan R. Miller
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

BOCA RATON, Fla. — An off-duty Boca Raton police officer was killed early this morning in a single-car crash on Florida's Turnpike, one mile west of Lake Worth.

Mark A. Strange, 34, of Lake Worth was southbound in a silver Dodge Ram when, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, he failed to negotiate a curve and struck a guard rail.

He was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the car. Strange was pronounced dead on the scene.

Strange came to the force seven years ago and was a training officer, according to his father, Jack Strange of California, where the officer grew up.

Strange said he received a call early this morning from the Florida Highway Patrol.

"It's been a tough morning for us. We live so far away," said Jack Strange.

He described his son as an "all-American kid" who loved football, and motorcycles. He said his son always wanted to help people and at one time worked in New York helping heroin addicts.

"He was just a very good boy, and I was really proud of him," said Strange, choking back tears.

Strange has an older brother, Vincent, 38, also of California. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Boca Raton Police Chief Dan Alexander said Strange will be remembered as "a first-class individual and a highly respected law enforcement officer."

The crash remains under investigation.

Copyright 2007 The Palm Beach Post

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