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The Florida man suspected of accidentally hitting and killing a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputy has been taken into custody.
Authorities announced the capture on social media shortly after 9 am ET.
A construction worker suspected of killing Officer Michael Hartwick at a construction area on Interstate 275 Thursday night had been on the run for nearly 10 hours.
Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told reporters that Victor Vazquez-Real, 35, was driving a front-end hauler intended to haul heavy concrete barriers northbound at a speed of at least 20 mph when he crashed. against Hartwick.
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The event, which occurred around 10:30 p.m., caused the instant death of the deputy.
While there was no indication that the act was intentional, Vazquez-Real fled the scene without attempting to render assistance.
Vazquez-Real faces one charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving death, a second-degree felony, Gualtieri said.
He told a co-worker that he had hit the officer and made a phone call to someone else.
The co-worker helped Vazquez by hiding his vest and construction helmet in a wooded area.
That co-worker was arrested and will be charged with being an accessory after the fact, Gualtieri said.
K-9 teams and hundreds of police officers assisted in the search.
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Gualtieri did not know if Vázquez had prior arrests.
Hartwick, a 51-year-old father, had worked for the office for 19 years.
He had been assigned to the area to provide security for construction crews and was standing outside his squad car when he was killed.
“Deputy Hartwick is survived by his two adult children. We would like to extend our deepest condolences to Deputy Hartwick’s family during this difficult time. Please keep his loved ones along with our PCSO family in your thoughts and prayers,” the office said in a statement. a statement. statement.
“Deputy Hartwick was doing what police officers do every day. He was doing his job,” Gualtieri said.
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A procession through Hartwick made its way through Pinellas County at 7 am Friday.
The sheriff’s office said the interstate had been closed due to the fatal crash, and delays were expected until noon.
Source : www.foxnews.com