Hillsborough County, FL – Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Master Deputy Robert “Bobby” Howard died in a motorcycle crash while off-duty on June 23, according to his department.
The 53-year-old master deputy was riding to a banquet dinner for the Tampa Bay Defenders Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club when the fatal wreck occurred, WTVT reported.
Details regarding what led up to the collision were not immediately released.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said the longtime deputy succumbed to his injuries while surrounded by his family and loved ones.
Among them was his son, fellow HCSO Deputy Robert “Bo” Howard, Sheriff Chronister noted in a tweet.
“Master Deputy Howard, with more than 17 years of service, served the citizens of Hillsborough County with distinguishment and the utmost professionalism,” the sheriff wrote. “His dedication to the Sheriff’s Office and commitment to our mission to protect and serve were without question.”
“We will hold his family and friends in our hearts as they walk this difficult path,” he continued. “I pray with each of you, that together we will find the strength to persevere through this difficult time and celebrate the life and lasting legacy of Master Deputy Howard.”
In addition to devoting his life to public service, Master Deputy Howard was also an organ donor, WTVT reported.
Fellow motorcycle club member Nick Cruz said he first met Master Deputy Howard more than 19 years ago at the law enforcement academy, according to WTVT.
“His legacy is going to be deep, and it’s going to cut a lot of people with his loss,” Cruz said. “He had a lot to give this world, and he gave a lot to the kids he raised. They know who they are, and he did a really good job with them.”
It is with deep sadness that we share with you, the passing of Master Deputy Robert L. Howard. Surrounded by his son Deputy Robert “Bo” Howard, II, family, and loved ones, Master Deputy “Bobby” Howard, 53, succumbed to injuries he sustained from a traffic crash on Friday, June… pic.twitter.com/N6ZgNgYJ69
— HCSO (@HCSOSheriff) June 24, 2023
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Master Deputy Robert “Bobby” Howard, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.