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Fla. officer struck, killed by elderly driver

Duty Death: Wesley Richard Whitmore Jr. - [Polk County, Florida]

By PoliceOne Staff

On Sunday, December 12, 2010, Sergeant Wesley Whitmore Jr. of the Polk County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office was struck and killed by a vehicle while he stood in the parking lot of a local convenience store. Whitmore was 60 years old and had served his community with the Polk County Sheriff's Office for 15 years. Whitmore also had served his country, retiring from the U.S. Air Force prior to entering law enforcement.

According to ODMP, the elderly driver of an SUV traveling on an adjacent roadway lost control of their vehicle, which then crashed through a metal barrier, struck a woman and business, traveled through a parking lot, and then struck Sergeant Whitmore's patrol car. The impact pushed the squad into Sgt. Whitmore, who had just exited his vehicle.

Whitmore had begun a traffic stop on a white car with an expired tag — conducting that stop in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven store — when 79-year-old Leo John Saunders blacked out behind the wheel, crashing into a local business, its proprietor, and finally, into Sgt. Whitmore and his squad car. A passenger in the vehicle Whitmore stopped apparently then took control of his radio and called for help.

Sergeant Whitmore is survived by his wife and several grown children.

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