UPDATE: JSO released the name of the officer killed Tuesday morning in a single-car crash. That officer is Lance C. Whitaker.
JSO said that Officer Whitaker was a 17 year veteran with JSO and was 48-years-old.
Rest In Peace #JSO Police Officer Lance C. Whitaker #7656. We will miss your kind heart and contagious smile. You are gone but will not be forgotten.— Jax Sheriff's Office (@JSOPIO) May 15, 2018
End of Watch: 05-15-2018 pic.twitter.com/uN18JF1T5l
From JSO: Officer Whitaker was a 17 year veteran with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office assigned to work the Zone 6 midnight shift. Zone 6 encompasses the Northside of Jacksonville. He was 48 years old. @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/6TsKHnD6CA— Bridgette Matter (@bridgetteANjax) May 15, 2018
A Jacksonville police officer was killed in a single-car crash early Tuesday morning, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff Mike Williams said the officer was responding to a traffic crash on I-295 at 4:30 a.m., when the officer hit a tree.
The officer was transported to a local hospital, where he later died.
"It's a tough day for JSO and the city," Williams said.
JSO said the officer worked the midnight shift. Police said next of kin has not been notified yet.
Williams believes weather may have played a factor in the crash.
The director of JSO patrol and law enforcement, Mike Bruno, said the community's heart is saddened and describes the officer as a hero.
"Heroes are the individuals that, every day, pin on the badge or put on the uniform, knowing they might not come back, but go out anyways," Bruno said.
JSO said the officer was killed on Police Memorial Day.
"It's another reminder of the risks that men and women of JSO take on every day when they come on this job,'' Williams said.
The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the crash. Williams said a FHP unit witnessed the crash.
In a tweet, FHP said, "As I stood there in the room when they made the final call of life to my JSO brother, this became one of the hardest days of my life. God bless you brother. Your sacrifice will never be forgotten."
Mayor Lenny Curry, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and multiple agencies have shared their condolences to the Sheriff's Office and the officer's family on social media.
"Our hearts are heavy for this officer, his family, and our brothers & sisters in blue....we responded and did all we could, but it wasn’t enough to save him," Curry said in a tweet.
"The community's heart today is saddened," Bruno said.
Our hearts are heavy for this officer, his family, and our brothers & sisters in blue....we responded and did all we could, but it wasn’t enough to save him. We stand beside you in these troubling times, and will do anything we can for you. @JSOPIO #heavyhearts #ourfamily #RIP pic.twitter.com/htam7kP48J— MyJFRD (@JFRDJAX) May 15, 2018
Jso officers wearing fallen officer ribbons over their badges. pic.twitter.com/sAA2PT3ZmB— Cole Heath (@ColeANjax) May 15, 2018
.@FLAnnScott and I are heartbroken to hear that a @JSOPIO police officer has passed in a vehicle crash this morning. We ask all Floridians to join us in praying for this officer’s family and loved ones during this terribly difficult time.— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) May 15, 2018
I mourn. Our city mourns. Sheriff Williams called me before sunrise as details were unfolding. This is sad/terrible news. Prayers for the family and all the men and women that protect us. Your city stands with you. https://t.co/eFg30rcOMt— Lenny Curry (@lennycurry) May 15, 2018
On this Police Memorial Day, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office lost one of our own in a police vehicle crash.— Jax Sheriff's Office (@JSOPIO) May 15, 2018
Please keep their family, co-workers, friends, and fellow officers in your prayers.
As more information becomes available, it will be released. pic.twitter.com/xGh3q1xhz7
Our hearts are breaking as we work a police vehicle crash at I295/Alta involving a JSO police officer who has died this morning.— Jax Sheriff's Office (@JSOPIO) May 15, 2018
#anjaxbreaking major backup after reported patrol car crash at NB295/Alta drive. Traffic being into Alta. All lanes blocked creating Long backup. @ActionTraffic @ActionNewsJax @WOKVNews pic.twitter.com/inKZUREVAj— Cole Heath (@ColeANjax) May 15, 2018
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