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Deputy Runs Over Sunbathing Woman On St. Pete Beach

St. Pete Beach, FL – A Pinellas County sheriff’s deputy responding to a 911 hang-up call on Wednesday afternoon ran over and seriously injured a 23-year-old woman who was sunbathing on the sand.

The incident occurred just after 1 p.m. on May 4 when 58-year-old Pinellas County Sheriff’s Deputy Todd Brien was on beach patrol at St. Pete Beach, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) said Deputy Brien had parked his patrol vehicle – a 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe – behind The Lido in the 4400-block of Gulf Boulevard and was talking to people on the beach.

That was when dispatch asked the deputy to check on a 911 hang-up call that had come in at 1:08 p.m., according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Deputy Brien immediately responded to the request.

But the deputy didn’t see the young woman laying on her back in the sand next to where his vehicle was parked before he started moving, according to a press release from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

“Deputy Brien made a right turn from his parked position, when he struck 23-year-old Robin Diffenderfer while she was lying on her back in the sand. According to investigators, the front driver side tire of the Tahoe drove over Diffenderfer’s right side and mid to upper back area,” the sheriff’s department said.

Diffenderfer was transported to the hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries and was expected to recover, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Deputy Brien joined the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in 2013, according to the agency’s press release.

The PCSO Major Accident Investigation Team was heading up the investigation into the incident, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

The investigation is ongoing, Gray News reported.

No one else was injured during the incident, according to the sheriff’s department.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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