A Florida sheriff’s deputy was helping supply an evacuation shelter ahead of Hurricane Irma’s landfall Sunday morning the vehicle she was driving crashed into one driven by a state prison employee, killing them both, according to local reports.
The early-morning tragedy occurred about 60 miles east of Sarasota.
The Hardee County sheriff’s deputy was identified by The Naples Daily News as Julia Bridges, a 13-year veteran of the department. Bridges had just left a hurricane shelter where she had been working to get more supplies when the collision occurred, Tampa station WFLA reported.
Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones identified the prison officer as Sgt. Joseph Ossman, a 21-year veteran of the department. He was headed for duty at the Hardee Correctional Institution.
“We are heartbroken by this loss, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and fellow officers at this time,” Jones said in a statement.
A spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol confirmed a crash killing two people along State Road 66 to HuffPost but declined to say whether it may have been storm-related, only saying Irma’s outer bands were buffeting the area at the time.