A Florida driver, apparently feeling impatient while waiting behind a line of traffic, attempted to cut through when she saw an opening, but ended up slamming into two deputies who were assisting one of the Orlando shooting victim’s funeral proceedings.
New York Daily News reports that two Osceola County deputies were on their patrol motorcycles, leading funeral traffic to a grave site located in Kissimmee, Florida, when a female driver tried to pass through traffic at around 11:30 a.m. According to Kim Montes, spokesperson for the Florida Highway Patrol, the woman saw an opening passing traffic and took her chances. Yet, she ended up crashing her 1997 Honda into the deputies.
“This was not on purpose. This was someone who got impatient….She is at fault in this crash. You can’t pull out in a funeral procession.”
According to Twis Lizasuain, director of Public and Media Relations at the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office,
“Earlier today, two Osceola County Sheriff’s deputies assigned to the Motor Unit were struck by a motorist who, for whatever reason, refused to wait for a passing funeral escort. The funeral procession was for a victim of the Pulse Nightclub incident. Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the traffic crash.”
NBC reports that both officers were rushed to a local hospital. One is in stable condition while the other officer is listed in critical condition. The driver wasn’t injured, and will likely face charges over the accident. All vehicles involved had substantial damage after the crash, resulting in several streets being temporarily closed off. The identities of the deputies and the female driver haven’t been released yet.
The funeral procession was for one of the 49 victims who lost their lives last week during the 2 a.m. Sunday shooting at Orlando’s Pulse, a nightclub for the LGBT community. The incident marked the largest mass shooting in U.S. history. So far, it’s unclear who the funeral proceedings were for.
Montes indicated that the crash left an emotional toil on the driver, who asked to be sent to the hospital, apparently because she was upset after the incident.
“She was distraught after the crash and wanted to be checked out.”
Earlier this week, several other funerals were held for other Orlando shooting victims, including a joint funeral for couple Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon and Jean Carlo Mendez-Perez. The two men were dressed in matching coffins, with two large pictures propped up beside each casket.
Rev. Agustin Lopez of Mission La Cosecha Church led the emotional service. He encouraged the attendees to hold on to each other and remember the victims.
“Hold onto each other. We will remember our sons as the blessings that they were meant to be when God gave them to us.”
Meanwhile, security continues to heighten for gay pride and LGBT clubs and events across the nation. At Southern Nights, a different LGBT club in the Orlando area, a new rule was implemented that will require two deputies in front of the club each and every night. Club owners also hired a security company that will install a metal detector and handle any pat downs and bag checks. According to the club’s Facebook page,
“Southern Nights has been a home to the LGBT Community for 40 years. It is, and will continue to be a place for all people to feel comfortable and always welcome. We promise that we will do everything in our power to keep it this way.”
In Chicago, additional police are expected to be on hand during this weekend’s gay pride parade, and in New York City, NYPD announced that in light of the Orlando Shooting, additional police presence and security will take place for all LGBT events and at LGBT clubs. According to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio,
“There will be lots of additional police presence at all these events, particularly presence of our new critical response command, which is the largest anti-terror force of any police force in the country. So you will see the NYPD out in force keeping us safe.”
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]