Lake County, FL – Lake County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) Detention Deputy Herbert “Bert” Cole died in a violent crash on Saturday morning as he was driving home from work.
Detention Deputy Cole, 40, had just finished his night shift and was headed home at approximately 6:45 a.m., when 18-year-old Tyler Cassell’s 1994 GMC pickup veered into his lane and struck him head-on, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Detention Deputy Cole, who was wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene, WFTV reported.
Cassel was ejected from his pickup during the collision, and was flown to Central Florida Regional Hospital with serious injuries, the Florida Highway Patrol said, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Investigators said that the fatal collision remains under investigation, but that criminal charges are pending.
The Florida Highway Patrol is also awaiting results of a blood alcohol test, WFTV reported.
“It is with great sadness that we report the tragic passing of one of our detention deputies,” the LCSO wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday. “Herbert ‘Bert’ Cole was on his way home, after working all night, when an oncoming motorist crossed the center line, striking ‘Bert’s’ vehicle.”
“Please keep his family and his LCSO family in your thoughts and prayers,” the post read.
Prior to joining the LCSO on Jan. 14, 2016, Detention Deputy Cole spent many years working as a correctional officer for at the Florida Department of Corrections' Lake Correctional Institution, LCSO Sergeant Fred Jones told Blue Lives Matter on Wednesday.
Sgt. Jones said he and Detention Deputy Cole have been friends for over 15 years - long before they worked together as law enforcement officers.
"This is a guy who did not have a bad bone in his body," he told Blue Lives Matter. "He was everybody's friend, and would do anything for anybody."
Detention Deputy Cole was cross-sworn as a deputy, and aspired to become a school resource officer, Sgt. Jones explained.
In fact, he was slated to have begun his field training program on Jan. 7.
"He is missed by many," the LCSO wrote in a Facebook post on Monday.
Detention Deputy Cole leaves behind his mother and two brothers.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Lake County Sheriff’s Office Detention Deputy Herbert “Bert” Cole, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.