Lakeland motorcycle officer dies in crash

Polk County

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – A Lakeland motorcycle officer died in a crash on his way to work on Thursday morning, authorities said.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office identified the officer as 50-year-old Paul Dunn.

According to the sheriff’s office, Dunn was on his Harley Davidson Police Road King motorcycle, heading north on Lakeland-Highlands Road just south of Lake Miriam Drive when for unknown reasons, the motorcycle hit a concrete median between the north and southbound lanes.

“He was going to work to train so he can keep people safe and he died. Bad things happen to good people,” said Sheriff Grady Judd.

Officer Paul Dunn. (Photo: Lakeland Police Department)

Deputies said Dunn lost control of the motorcycle, which came to a rest in the northbound lanes of the roadway.

Madaline Sinclair, a deputy’s wife, and Laura Lewis, a nurse practitioner, both pulled over to help, Sheriff Judd said.

“We saw our community run to us this morning when we were in distress. They didn’t leave him out here by himself. They stopped to help,” he said.

Lewis performed CPR until paramedics arrived.

“She said that the officer had a faint pulse that went to no pulse at all,” said Sheriff Judd.

Dunn was taken to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

“We don’t know why his motorcycle left the roadway,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a press conference Thursday. “Common sense would dictate that some other vehicle forced him off the roadway, but there is no evidence to prove that.”

Polk County Sheriff’s Office

Lakeland Police Chief Ruben Garcia said Dunn had served with the agency for five years after spending 12 years at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Before that, he was a US Marine.

“He was always a highly motivated, happy officer every time I saw him,” said Chief Garcia. “Paul raised his hand and volunteered more than most.”

Garcia said Dunn was married to a detective at the Lakeland Police Department and leaves behind three adult children, two of which are serving in the military.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office’s Homicide Unit is investigating the incident.

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