TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A 45-year-old police officer was killed in a collision with a wrong-way driver early Tuesday morning on Interstate 275 in Tampa, police said.
The wrong-way driver also died in the crash, Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan said during a news conference.
Dugan said police began getting calls just before 1 a.m. Tuesday about a speeding white sedan that was swerving and heading south in the northbound lanes of I-275 in Tampa. About a minute later, a caller said the car had collided with a marked patrol vehicle.
Jesse Madsen was a former U.S. Marine who had worked for the Tampa Police Department for 16 years, Dugan said. Madsen had received seven life-saving awards. The chief called Madsen a “dedicated husband” and the father of three.
According to Fox 13, Dugan said the department believes Madsen may have sacrificed himself to stop the wrong-way driver.
“We have reason to believe that he veered into this oncoming car to protect others,” he said. “When you look at someone who has seven Life-Saving Awards, it’s no surprise.”
Dugan said Madsen is the 32nd Tampa officer to be killed in the line of duty.
Dugan identified the wrong-way driver as 25-year-old Joshua Montague, from Golden, Colorado. Montague also died following the crash.
The police chief said Montague was using a rental vehicle at the time.
“This is a tragedy,” Dugan said. “Our community has been rocked by these wrong-way drivers.”
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