Wrong-Way Crash Kills Hillsborough Deputy
The deputy was in a marked patrol car. The other driver was also killed in the head-on collision.
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY – A Hillsborough deputy died this morning (March 12) of injuries he received in a head-on crash with a wrong-way driver.
The deputy, John Robert Kotfila, Jr., 30, had worked with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for six years. He was a traffic crash investigator. He died at Tampa General Hospital of his injuries.
“Our HCSO family is one less today,” Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee said. “The tragic loss of one of my deputies has all of our hearts heavy. The most dreaded part of being sheriff of Hillsborough County is getting the news that a deputy has lost his or her life in the line of duty. I know the citizens of Hillsborough County – and from all corners of this great nation – join HCSO as we mourn. But this sadness is tempered with an enduring pride that our deputy fought the good fight. That is our vow – then, now and tomorrow.
“We will embrace our deputy’s family with the honor and respect due to one who dedicated his life ‘to serve and protect.’ Thank you for your prayers for our deputy and his family.”
Also dead was the wrong-way driver, Erik Thomas McBeth, 31, of 12313 Little Road, Apt. 105, in Hudson. He died at the scene.
A Hillsborough sheriff’s spokesman said the department received a 911 call about 2:45 a.m. today (March 12) reporting that a wrong-way driver was heading westbound on the Leroy Selmon Expressway at the Brandon Express exit (Upper Deck). The ramp was closed to westbound traffic and servicing eastbound traffic only. Mr. McBeth, driving a 2013 white GMC Terrain, was driving west in the eastbound lanes. Deputy Kotfila had just left Tampa General Hospital after a traffic crash investigation and was driving his marked patrol car, a 2013 Dodge Charger, eastbound on the Selmon Expressway.
The deputy was unable to avoid the crash and the vehicles struck head-on just west of the I-75 overpass, deputies said. Mr. McBeth died at the scene. Deputy Kotfila was taken to Tampa General Hospital where he died of his injuries.
Deputies said that all of the traffic control devices were in working order showing the ramp closed to westbound traffic. It is unknown if alcohol was involved at this time.
The Selmon Expressway was closed after the crash. It is expected to open shortly.
For information about the Hillsborough sheriff, go to hcso.tampa.fl.us.
Photographs courtesy of the Hillsborough sheriff.
Hillsborough Sheriff | John Robert Kotfila | Erik Thomas McBeth | Selmon Expressway | Deputy Killed | TB Reporter
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