HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is mourning the loss of a deputy who was killed in a crash just one shift before he was set to retire, authorities said Monday.
The deputy was identified as Corporal Brian LaVigne, a 30-year veteran of the force.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said LaVigne was involved in a crash on Lumsden Road in Brandon. The other driver, 28-year-old Travis Garrett, had been fleeing deputies and “intentionally” crashed into the driver’s side of his cruiser, authorities said.
Earlier, the sheriff’s office said it had received multiple reports of a man throwing clothes and furniture off a balcony at the Paddock Club Apartments on Paddock Club Drive. After being called to the complex for a second time, deputies said they found Garrett acting erratically.
The sheriff’s office said Garrett punched a deputy in the head several times. They tried to stun him with a taser, but that didn’t work. He jumped into a car and took off before crashing through the back gate of the complex, deputies said.
Authorities said Garrett was speeding west on Lumsden Road when he crossed two lanes and rammed LaVigne’s car as the deputy was turning onto the road.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue crews also responded and spent several minutes trying to extricate LaVigne as his fellow deputies tended to his injuries.
LaVigne was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where he later died.
“This corporal was murdered, intentionally killed by the suspect,” said Chronister.
According to the sheriff, LaVigne was with the force for more than 30 years and was just one shift away from retirement.
“And honor him as a hero and for the service that he left behind as a teacher, as a mentor and as, again, as someone who unselfishly served this community,” said Chronister.
Garrett remains in the hospital and charges against him are forthcoming. He does not have any arrest history in Hillsborough County, but he was previously Baker Acted in Pasco County. As detectives put a case together, Chronister said the focus will turn to LaVigne’s family.
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