Hero Down: Seminole Police Lt. Joseph Johnson Killed In On-Duty Crash
Palm Beach County, FL – Seminole Police Department Lieutenant Joseph Johnson died in the line of duty during a single-vehicle rollover crash on May 30.
The fatal collision occurred on North U.S. Highway 27 at approximately 10:21 p.m. on May 29, as Lt. Johnson was approaching a curve in the road near John Stretch Memorial Park, WPEC reported.
The 64-year-old lieutenant’s vehicle suddenly left the roadway and traveled into the grass for approximately 620 feet, then spun out sideways as it neared a canal bank, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBCSO) said.
The undercarriage and wheels of Lt. Johnson’s vehicle struck several patches of high vegetation, separating one front tire from the rim.
The other front wheel separated from the car altogether, before the vehicle overturned into the canal.
Lt. Johnson was extricated from the car by emergency personnel, and was rushed to St. Mary’s Medical Center by helicopter, according to Team South Florida.
He died of his injuries shortly before 12:30 a.m., WPEC reported.
Lt. Johnson’s law enforcement career began during the Vietnam War, when he served in the U.S. Army military police, according to Team South Florida.
In 1976, he began working as a 911 dispatcher for the Collier County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), and later graduated from the law enforcement academy in 1978.
He devoted 28 years of service to the CCSO before retiring at the rank of sergeant in 2004.
Later that same year, Lt. Johnson was hired as a captain with the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, where he served another five years.
In 2009, Lt. Johnson joined the Seminole Police Department, where he remained until his tragic death.
He was driving to follow up on several investigations at the time of the crash, the Florida State Fraternal Order of Police Memorial Committee said in a Facebook post on Friday.
“Lt. Johnson’s dedication and devotion to serving the community will never be forgotten,” Seminole Tribe of Florida Executive Director of Public Safety William Latchford told the Naples Daily News. “He is a man of many years of experience in law enforcement, and he served the Seminole Tribe with distinction.”
Lt. Johnson leaves behind his wife of 21 years, Nadereh, as well as his daughters, Ariana and Cara, WFTX reported.
He is also survived by three siblings, three grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.
“We send our utmost thoughts, prayers, and condolences to Lieutenant Joseph, his friends, his family, and the countless lives he no doubt has impacted throughout his incredible career and lifetime of dedication to service and country,” Team South Florida said.
Lt. Johnson will be laid to rest on Wednesday, the Naples Daily News reported.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Seminole Police Department Lieutenant Joseph Johnson, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.