HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The sheriff of Citrus County struck and killed a pedestrian on U.S. Highway 19 Wednesday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
The accident happened in Hernando County, just south of Woodland Waters Boulevard at about 9:10 p.m.
A spokesperson with Citrus County Sheriff’s Office said Sheriff Mike Prendergast was returning home from a board meeting with the Sheriff’s Ranches Enterprises, Inc.
He was headed north on the outside lane of the highway as a 59-year-old man was crossing the roadway.
The pedestrian entered the outside lane and Prendergast’s unmarked vehicle hit him. The man died at the scene.
The sheriff’s office said alcohol was not a factor in the crash.
8 On Your Side got a hold of 911 calls placed by Prendergast just moments after the crash.
“A person darted out across 19 and I hit him on the right side of my vehicle. I’m going to go back and see if I can find the victim,” he said in the call. “I need to go back and check on the victim. Please send someone up here as soon as you can.”
An eyewitness also called 911 and noted that a “policeman” was the driver of the SUV.
“It’s bad. It’s bad. I mean, I’ll never sleep again,” the man said.
Prendergast was elected sheriff of Citrus County in November 2016. He assumed his position in January of the next year.
No charges are pending, according to FHP.
The Tampa native had served as Executive Director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs after being appointed by Gov. Rick Scott in 2011. He also served 31 years of active duty service as a military police officer with multiple deployments and assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan and other parts of Asia, Africa and Europe, according to the sheriff’s office’s website.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the pedestrian during this difficult time,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.