Two Putnam deputies fired over high-speed incident

Published: Friday, January 27, 2012 at 5:14 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 27, 2012 at 7:13 p.m.

Two Putnam County sheriff’s deputies have been fired because they recklessly drove their patrols cars on State Road 20 on Dec. 31 when responding to a noise complaint, causing one to crash, Capt. Johnny Greenwood said Friday.

Dismissed were deputies Terry Krueger, a six-year veteran of the agency, and Thomas Burger, who worked there less than a year, Greenwood reported in a press release.

An investigation was called for by Sheriff Jeff Hardy after residents provided information about the crash of a patrol car on Dec. 31.

Krueger and Burger were responding to a complaint of noise from golf carts in the Hunter Road area.

The deputies were eastbound in two separate cars at about 2 a.m. on SR 20 near the intersection of Twin Lake Grove Drive east of Interlachen when Burger lost control of his car. He spun, crossed a concrete median and ended up in the westbound lane. About $1,000 in damage was done to the car. A device on the car indicated Burger was traveling 124 mph. Krueger’s car was traveling at 119 mph, Greenwood said.

Investigators learned that Burger was initially following Krueger in the inside lane, but moved over into the outside lane to pass when he lost control of his car. The posted speed limit in the area is 45 mph.

Traveling at such a high speed to a routine call for service is a gross violation of agency policy, Greenwood reported.

“We are very fortunate that no one was killed or severely injured as a result of these officers’ reckless behavior and lack of judgment,” Hardy stated in the press release. “Although accidents are often unavoidable, had these officers been operating their patrol cars at reasonable speeds, this traffic crash could have been prevented.”

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