A Florida woman is expressing her gratitude for an officer who drove between her and a driver going the wrong way, taking on the impact and saving the woman’s life.
Hillsborough County Deputy John Kotfila was killed when he placed his vehicle between the wrong-way driver and Sarah Geren, who was returning from work on Saturday morning.
According to KSLA, Geren tried desperately to signal the wrong-way driver as he sped towards her.
“I started flashing my lights crazily at him, like a strobe light. I couldn’t think of any other way to say stop driving towards me,” Geren said.
Suddenly, Kotfila sped up from behind her, using his vehicle as a shield to protect her. The act would cost him his life.
“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,” she said. “This man put himself in front of us as a human shield. Absolutely, 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.”
The wrong-way driver, a 31-year-old male, was killed. Toxicology tests are being performed, though results can take up to six weeks to be processed.
Geren isn’t the only one who will never forget Kotfila- his comrades at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office are currently operating one deputy short.
“He was a well-rounded person that you wanted to be around,” said Sgt. Jeffery Massaro of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
“John made us better. He made this program better. He makes this sheriff’s office better. And he is going to be missed,” Massaro said referring to John’s role as a founding member of the Safety Net Team, which helps find people with special needs who have wandered away from home.
According to the HCSO, all signs and signals deployed to prevent wrong-way drivers were working properly during the time of the incident.
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