Nassau County deputy killed in the line of duty laid to rest

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. — Expressing love, hope and unity, the Nassau County community on Saturday celebrated the life and mourned the death of Deputy Eric Oliver, who was killed Nov. 22 in the line of duty.

Oliver was assisting U.S. Border Patrol agents when he was struck and killed by a passing motorist while chasing an undocumented immigrant on foot across State Road 200.

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Hundreds of people filled the First Baptist Church in Fernandina Beach to honor his sacrifice and legacy.

Law enforcement officers and first responders from all around the region joined family, friends and dignitaries including Governor Rick Scott at the funeral.

Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper called Deputy Oliver a loyal and treasured friend to all who knew him.

"What if he didn't answer that call that day, what if the individual didn't run? What if he hadn't been in the country illegally?" Leeper said. "The discussion of what if's is part of the way we process the loss, but no what if's would've made a difference that day. No what if's will bring him back."

He talked about the impact Deputy Oliver had on the community and the force, describing him as more than a co-worker.

"He was family." Leeper said. "

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The deputy's father Doug Oliver thanked the community for coming together, saying the outpouring of love is helping the healing process.

He also publicly reassured the driver that the family didn't blame her for the fatal accident.

"I know you are grieving I know you're having a rough time I know it will never leave your mind but I want you to know we forgive you and our hand is reached out to you," he said.

The crowd was asked to then verbally show their love for the family, including a young daughter, Deputy Oliver left behind.

People lined the streets for three miles as his massive procession made their way to Bosque Bello Cemetery.

They paid their respect and held their hands to their hearts.

Deputy Oliver was laid to rest with military and police honors.

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