PALM COAST, Fla. -- A 31-year-old sheriffs deputy with a year and a half on the force is recovering at the hospital after striking another vehicle while responding to a call. The driver of that van died from his injuries.
It happened early Wednesday morning on State Road 100 in Flagler County.
The Florida Highway Patrol tells Action News it appears the driver of a white van was driving down this road when he noticed the cruiser coming up behind him. FHP says he started slowing down to pull over to the side when that deputy ran right into him.
"We're sworn to protect and serve and that's what we try to do, and in this case there was an accident while responding," said Flagler County Undersheriff Rick Staly.
The Flagler County Sheriff's Office is trying to figure out how one of their deputies responding to a call ended up rear ending the van, causing it to flip. The driver inside, 64-year-old Eduardo Pacheco, died from his injuries.
"It could have been any of us," said neighbor Talitha Porter. "We just have to count our blessing and be prayerful each time we go out the door. Cuz you never know what's gonna happen."
She said she didn't know Pacheco well but would always wave in passing. She said this crash was a true tragedy.
"He was on the block and I feel that we are all family living here so I feel very bad for his family."
Action News has learned the deputy involved, Christopher Crego did have his lights and sirens on, but FHP confirms he was not wearing his seatbelt. He had surgery this afternoon for his injuries.
"If charges are applicable then they will be issued accordingly by our department," said Sgt Dylan Bryan with FHP.
FHP says a passing school bus and those on board witnessed the crash. FHP is currently working to obtain the video from that bus. We're told the deputy's cruiser was not equipped with a dashboard camera.