POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A former law enforcement officer was handed a lengthy prison term on Thursday in Polk County.
According to law enforcement, 49-year-old John Camfield’s blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit when he hit five Dundee Ridge Middle Academy students walking on the shoulder of the road near their bus stop in April of 2017.
Camfield pleaded no contest to DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide.
The force of the collision killed 13-year-Jaheim Robertson.
“You left my son on the side of the road like an animal,” Jaheim’s mother Robin Robertson said in tears as she looked back at Camfield.
Camfield was caught by an off-duty Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputy down the street after he crashed into another car.
The other students recovered from their injuries but their families said during the sentencing hearing that they still haven’t recovered emotionally.
“My son is now diagnosed with PTSD. He has lost a lifetime friend. And I as a parent cannot erase the vision that he had to endure that day. It breaks me. It has broken his spirit,” Winsome Pryce told the courtroom. Her son Rylan was injured in the crash.
During the hearing, Camfield apologized to the families of the victims but denied he was drinking.
“There’s nothing I can say that will ever take back what I did. This was not drinking. This was a medical issue,” Camfield said.
The judge didn’t buy his defense and sentenced Camfield to 35 years behind bars Thursday and also suspended his license for his lifetime.
“Given the totality of the situation, this is egregious,” he said just before handing down his ruling.
According to Sheriff Grady Judd, Camfield apparently used to brag that he has a special relationship with Captain Morgan rum.
“John Camfield is a man who’s an absolute, total drunk,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a previous news conference.
Camfield spent nearly 20 years in Mississippi as a law enforcement officer and even served as a DUI enforcement officer. He served with the Ercu, Horn Lake, Hernando and Oxford police departments. He also served as a deputy at sheriff’s offices in in Pontotoc, Tunica and Yalobusha counties.
“I talked to one of the sheriff’s he worked with, the sheriff said ‘he was one of the very best detectives we ever had, but he had a problem, alcohol, the bottle,'” stated Sheriff Judd.
Camfield worked for 10 law enforcement agencies from 1994 to 2012.
2013 arrest records show he was nabbed for driving under the influence and on a suspended license. He was also arrested for public drunkenness.