TAMPA, Fla. — A Florida deputy was killed over the weekend after he drove his car into the path of a car driving the wrong way in order to save another driver.
WFLA-TV reports that a woman called 911 after seeing a wrong-way driver headed toward her on the Leroy Selmon Expressway.
Sarah Geren was returning home from work with her boyfriend early Saturday morning when she saw Erik McBeth, 31, barreling towards her, driving westbound in the eastbound lanes of the expressway.
“I started to pull over to the side of the road, but that hadn’t even occurred all the way when the officer rushed around me… one or two seconds after he passed me, he hit the car, instead of me,” Geren told WFLA.
She was talking about Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputy John Robert Kotfila Jr., who intentionally drove into the path of the vehicle to prevent the wrong-way driver from hitting her car.
Geren called the deputy a “human shield.”
“He definitely saw what was going on. When I take a step back and look at the way everything occurred, he absolutely was a human shield for us,” Geren told the station.
McBeth was killed in the crash. Investigators are waiting for toxicology results to determine if he was under the influence.
All wrong-way signs and signals were up and running properly at the time of the crash, authorities said.