Fla. LEO responding to wreck killed in crash

Police said the cause of the crash remains under investigation

Duty Death: Lance Whitaker - [Jacksonville, Florida]

End of Service: 05/15/2018


By PoliceOne Staff

UPDATE (3:05 P.M. CST):

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office identified the LEO killed in the crash as Officer Lance Whitaker.

Whitaker, 48, was killed while responding to a call about a wreck, according to WJXT-TV. The officer was a 17-year veteran of the agency.

EARLIER:

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Florida law enforcement officer was killed in crash early Tuesday while responding to a call about a wreck.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office LEO responded to a wreck after a vehicle reportedly ran off the road, WJXT-TV reported. The LEO later crashed his patrol car down an embankment on a highway, according to the Florida Times-Union.

The LEO was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Sheriff Mike Williams said the rainy weather may have been a factor, but the cause of the crash remains under investigation.

“It’s a tough day for JSO and the city overall,” Williams said. “If you are going to get hurt in this job, one of the main ways is a traffic crash of some sort. This just reinforces the point we have been talking about for a little bit more than a year now about traffic safety ... It’s another reminder of the risk that the men and women of JSO take on every day.”

Williams said they will release the officer’s name after the family has been notified.

Several officials are mourning the loss of the LEO. Steve Zona, president of the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police, said the organization is grieving the loss with the officer’s family and will help in any way possible.

Gov. Rick Scott also expressed his condolences and asked “all Floridians to join us in praying for this officer’s family and loved ones during this terribly difficult time.”

 

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