TAMPA — Officials believe a police officer killed in the line of duty Tuesday may have veered into the path of a wrong-way driver to protect others.
Tampa Police Department Officer Jesse Madsen, 45, was killed when his car collided with another vehicle that was driving in the northbound lanes of a Florida highway. Calls said the driver was also going fast and swerving through lanes.
WFTS reports that within a minute of the first call, the car collided with Officer Madsen's police car killing him and the other driver, Joshua Daniel Montague.
"We have reason to believe that [Madsen] veered into this oncoming car to protect others," said Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan. "That is what we have gathered through some of our witnesses, some of our investigation. So when you look at someone who’s earned seven life-saving awards, it's no surprise that he would take such swift action and do this.”
A former United State Marine, Madsen leaves behind a wife, a 10-year-old daughter, a 12-year-old son and a 16-year-old son. He was a seven-time recipient of the Tampa Police Department's Life Saving Award.
"If he took steps to try to save others by laying down his life, that really is a true testament to the kind of individual that Jesse Madsen was," Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said.