Florida deputy killed had ties to Massachusetts

BRANDON, Fla. (AP/WPRI) — Authorities say a Florida sheriff’s deputy who worked as a traffic crash investigator was killed after his car collided head-on with another vehicle early Saturday.

Authorities said John Robert Kotfila, Jr. had just left a hospital where he had been working on an investigation when his vehicle collided with the vehicle of a driver who was heading the wrong way on the Selmon Expressway. The 30-year-old Kotfila was a deputy with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. The other driver, 31-year-old Erik Thomas McBeth, died at the scene.

Authorities said Kotfila died at the hospital. He had worked with the agency for six years.

The ramp was closed to westbound traffic and servicing eastbound traffic only. Traffic control devices showing the ramp was closed to westbound traffic were working properly.

According to Massachusetts State Police, Deputy Kotfila was the son of Mass. State Police Sergeant John R. Kotfila Sr.

In a statement to Eyewitness News, Mass. State Police Col. Richard McKeon said:

“Sergeant Kotfila, the Deputy’s father, is a veteran member of the Massachusetts State Police currently assigned to the Bourne Barracks. He is a highly-respected member of the law enforcement community.

Our prayers tonight are with him, his wife, and their two surviving children – one of whom is a Falmouth Police officer. It is clear that Sergeant Kotfila instilled in his children the same sense of duty, dedication, and service to others that he himself has embraced throughout his career.

“Tonight, with heavy hearts, we grieve the loss of a hero who was a member of our extended Massachusetts State Family. May God Bless him and the loved ones he leaves behind.”

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