MULBERRY, Fla. (WFLA) — Blane Lane was a Future Farmers of America delegate, a football player, a go-to tractor driver, a beloved son and a father.
He was also someone who, at just 21 years old, was living his dream.
Scott Lake Elementary School posted a yearbook picture of Lane when he was a child with the caption “Become a Polk County Sheriff.”
“His single focus from the time he was in 9th grade was, I’m gonna be a deputy sheriff,” said his high school agriculture teacher and FFA advisor Tommy Myers.
“The biggest thing — he wanted to be Grady Judd,” said his high school football coach Kevin Wells.
His leadership ambitions came to a crashing halt on Tuesday morning.
While three deputies were attempting to locate and arrest 46-year-old Cheryl Williams inside a Polk City mobile home, Lane was standing guard outside, authorities said.
According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Williams pointed what appeared to be a firearm, but was actually a BB gun, at the deputies.
The deputies fired at Williams, striking her twice.
Another bullet from a deputy’s gun went through the wall of the mobile home and hit Lane, who died at Lakeland Regional Health.
“This is like losing one of your kids,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
It was not that long ago Lane was a high school student with a big smile and big dreams.
He graduated from Mulberry High School in 2020.
While he was a student there, he was involved in Future Farmers of America and loved riding tractors.
His agriculture teacher Tommy Myers met Lane when he was a freshman and knew him well.
They bonded over dinner and trips to FFA conventions.
Myers used to be a volunteer firefighter and used the same signal codes as the sheriff’s office.
He gave Lane the list of codes and by the end of his senior year, Lane had them all memorized.
He was preparing himself for a life of service at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
“You think what could he have done in 30-40 years at that job as into it as he was at that young age. Just so much potential for the future and such a spirit for life and service,” said Myers.
Lane also played on the Mulberry High School football team as a linebacker and defensive end.
His coach, Kevin Wells, said he trusted Lane to complete any task he asked of him.
“Blane can drive the tractor. I mean, he could probably drive it with his eyes closed. Blane was that kind of kid. He was a good kid,” said Wells. “That’s one thing you can say about Blane. He loved every minute of his life. Always loved it.”
The common refrain about Lane is that his ultimate goal was to be elected to the office currently held by his role model, Grady Judd.
Could he have done it? Absolutely, Judd said.
“There has not been a deputy at that young age that performed at that high level. He’s just professional in every sense,” Judd said.
A funeral for Lane is being planned for next week.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is collecting donations for the family. A donation link can be found here: polksheriff.org/donate.
In the dropdown menu, choose “In Memory of Deputy Sheriff Blane Lane.”