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Semi collision kills 'passionate' Brevard deputyLamaur Stancil and Eric Rogers, Florida Today Published 7:43 a.m. ET Feb. 17, 2018 | Updated 11:10 p.m. ET Feb. 18, 2018
Children in Mims can no longer see a sheriff's patrol cruiser drive past them and wonder if Deputy Kevin Stanton is behind the wheel.
The Brevard County Sheriff's deputy was killed in a crash involving a semi truck and the deputy's marked patrol car on Interstate 95 near Titusville Saturday morning, the Florida Highway Patrol said. A bad tire on the semi was the preliminary cause of the crash, FHP said.
"Our focus is helping Kevin's family face this tragedy," Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said. "It will be tough. Together, we'll get through it. The family has been doing as well as you can imagine at this time."
Stanton's last assignment was as a field training officer for the Sheriff's Office. But years before, he immersed himself in Mims through community policing.
"It was very important to him," said Dana Delaney Loyd, who met Stanton during the time he patrolled the area. "He'd stop at 7-Eleven and buy Slurpees for the kids. He was so approachable. My children would see a deputy car out on Turpentine Road and they would ask me if it was him."
Stanton assisted with a program to help provide Christmas presents to needy children in Mims years ago, Loyd said. She also saw him take considerable time to resolve a bullying issue between two children.
Saturday's crash happened about 5:10 a.m. near mile marker 217, just north of State Road 50. FHP said the semi was traveling in the adjacent lane when a tire lost its treading and wrapped around the axle, causing the driver to lose control and collide with Stanton's cruiser.
[A traffic camera image from Mile Marker 216 near Titusville]
A traffic camera image from Mile Marker 216 near Titusville shows the scene of a crash that killed a Brevard County Sheriff's deputy. (Photo: FHP)
The driver of the semi, Leo Smith Jr., 26, of Orlando, and his passenger were hospitalized for minor injuries, FHP said.
Traffic was blocked for about five hours.
Ivey and FHP Lt. Channing Taylor spoke at the Sheriff's precinct in Titusville on Saturday morning.
"He was an amazing young man," Ivey said about the 32-year-old deputy. "He was very passionate about the job and I can tell you our entire command team, our hearts are broken this morning. We lost one of our family."
Ivey was visibly upset as he delivered the news. He was flanked by a line of deputies, each wearing a black band around their badge to mourn their colleague.
"It's never easy when you get that phone call at 5:15 in the morning telling you you've lost one of your own," Ivey said. "You try to put your arms around it, you think about the smile on Kevin's face. You think about his passion for this job. You think about the 1,500 members of this agency that are each right now gut-punched, trying to grasp what happened."
In a statement issued Saturday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he and his wife, Ann, “are saddened to hear of the passing of Brevard County Field Training Officer Kevin Stanton this morning. We pray that his family, fellow officers and loved ones find comfort in knowing that Officer Stanton will be remembered as a decorated officer and hero.”
Scott said that “while we saw firsthand the bravery of our law enforcement officers during and after the tragic shooting in Parkland this week, we must remember that Florida’s law enforcement officers make the incredible decision to put their lives on the line every day to protect families across our state. I ask that all Floridians take the time to thank their law enforcement officers for their service and also pause to honor the sacrifice of every fallen officer who lost their lives as they courageously served our state.”
Stanton received numerous commendations, commendable service awards, and a Life Saving Award during his 11 years with the Sheriff's Office.
Ivey also discussed Stanton's death with Gov. Rick Scott, he said.
Stanton was assigned to the west precinct in Viera, Ivey said. He was headed there to start a shift when the crash happened.
"It appears it was an accident. It appears that it was God calling Kevin home," Ivey said. "We're left here trying to put the pieces together, and trying to remember what I believe was one of Brevard County's heroes."
Lamaur Stancil is a breaking news reporter for Florida Today and TCPalm.com. He can be reached at 321-242-3662 or 321-987-7179. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @TCPalmLStancil.
Contact Eric Rogers at 321-242-3717 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @EricRogersFT.
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