Two police officers in Florida died from injuries sustained in an auto accident the morning of Sunday, September 10 in Hardee County. The officers reportedly crashed their vehicles into each other in a head-on collision. However, the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) has been unable to determine if Hurricane Irma was a contributing factor in the accident.
According to the accident report FHP provided, Sergeant Joseph Ossman was driving to report to duty at the Hardee Correctional Institution, while Julie Ann Bridges, a Hardee County sheriff’s deputy, was heading from a hurricane shelter at which she had been assigned to work. Ossman was heading west and Bridges east in her marked sheriff’s car. The two vehicles hit each other at approximately 6:30 a.m. on State Route 66, near its intersection with Old Crewsville Road in Zolfo Springs.
The 53-year-old Ossman, a Sebring native, was a 21-year veteran with the Florida Department of Corrections. Bridges, a Wauchula resident, was a 13-year veteran of the county sheriff’s office. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
Difficulty of investigating accidents after storms
Car accidents that do not have witnesses can be challenging for police to investigate. It becomes even more difficult in a hurricane situation, as the weather makes it more difficult for drivers to see where they’re going and anticipate the behavior of others. Law enforcement officers also struggle to analyze the scene of the accident to determine what took place.
As the cleanup after Hurricane Irma continues, there are likely to be numerous injury claims in the days and weeks ahead. If you need assistance with filing a claim after an accident, speak with an experienced Bradenton personal injury lawyer at Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez & Walsh.