A 50-year-old Lakeland motorcycle police officer was killed in a crash Thursday morning on his way to work.
According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the officer was killed just before 6 a.m. when his motorcycle for unknown reasons collided with and drove over a raised concrete median between the north and southbound lanes on Lakeland Highlands Road just south of Lake Miriam Drive.
This caused the officer to lose control of the motorcycle. The officer and the motorcycle came to rest on the inside (left) lane of the northbound roadway.
He was operating his agency Harley Davidson Police Road King motorcycle.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said multiple passersby stopped at the crash site to help render aid to Dunn and call 911.
One woman stopped and called 911. Another woman, a nurse practitioner, began CPR on the officer.
The officer was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead at 6:53 a.m. at Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center. The officer, who was with the agency about five years after a dozen years with the Polk Sheriff’s Office, also served as a U.S. Marine. He was married with three adult children.
Authorities are conducting a fatal crash investigation, as it occurred in the unincorporated area of Lakeland.
Judd said the investigation will be exhausted to determine the cause of the crash.
Did you know that the state of Florida ranks seventh among all US states in terms of motorcyclist fatalities? This is according to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association. Regrettably, local statistics show that thousands of motorcycle riders get hurt on Florida roads each year.
The latest data from the Governors Highway Safety Association reveals that in 2017 alone, Florida accounted for 18.2 percent of all motorcycle fatalities in the U.S. This amounts to roughly 504 deaths. In 2016, Florida was responsible for 574 motorcycle deaths. This number of motorcycle fatalities actually decreased by 70 from 2016 to 2017.
As fun as they can be, motorcycles are one of the more dangerous forms of transportation. Sadly, it is common for drivers of larger vehicles to not see motorcycles, and as a result, catastrophic accidents occur. Whether you are an experienced rider or a novice, there are a few safety tips you can be reminded of to keep you safe on the road.
The following are a few safety precautions for motorcycle riders:
- Maintain your motorcycle. Before taking your bike out for a spin, make sure there are no problems with your motorcycle. You do not want to discover that you’re missing a turn signal or having brake trouble when you’re already out on the road as it could be too late at that point.
- Wear your safety gear. Helmets can protect you against fatal or life-changing brain injuries. It is also a good idea to wear eye and face protection, a protective jacket, long pants, gloves and boots.
- Take a safety course. Regardless of if you have years of experience, you can always brush up on your skills. Taking a motorcycle safety course is always a good idea. You can find motorcycle safety courses in Florida by clicking here.
- Follow the posted speed limit. A large percentage of motorcyclists who die in accidents are speeding.
- Don’t operate your motorcycle drunk. Never drink and drive any vehicle. Operating a motorcycle under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be especially dangerous.
- Stay alert. Always be on the lookout for potholes, bumps in the road and oncoming vehicles. You cannot always rely on other drivers to look out for you.
Unfortunately, even if you do everything right on your end, sometimes accidents still happen. Our Tampa Bay Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have handled many cases in which motorcyclists and their passengers were injured in accidents caused by other drivers doing the following:
- Following a motorcycle too closely
- Failing to yield at an intersection
- Running a stop sign or red light
- Cutting off a motorcycle when changing lanes
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Unsafe lane changes
- Improper turning