Groveland, FL – Polk County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) Deputy Drake Sawyer Perry died in an off-duty motor vehicle crash in February.
The 22-year-old deputy was traveling northbound on State Road 33 near Double H Lane in a 2014 Mazda 3 at approximately 11:20 a.m. on Feb. 22 when he veered into the oncoming lane and collided head-on with a 2014 Volvo semi-truck, Inside Lake reported.
The truck then crashed into the back of a 2018 Hyundai Elantra.
Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) Lieutenant Tara Crescenzi told Inside Lake the 34-year-old woman driving the Hyundai was not injured in the wreck, nor was her passenger.
The 32-year-old semi-truck driver was rushed to Orlando Health South Lake Hospital with serious injuries, according to Lt. Crescenzi.
Deputy Perry succumbed to his injuries at the scene.
The FHP’s investigation into the fatal collision remains ongoing.
The PCSO announced Deputy Perry’s death in a press release the following day.
“We are all grieving at the loss of this young deputy who was just starting out in his career,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. “Deputy Perry was an outstanding cadet in the academy, and his classmates and coworkers remember him as always smiling, always positive, and a team player who was always helping others. He was a natural born leader and aspired to be on the SWAT team.”
Deputy Perry was sponsored by the PCSO in the Polk State College Kenneth C. Thompson Institute for Public Safety dual enrollment class, which resulted in him earning dual certification as both a detention deputy and as a law enforcement officer.
“He was the class commander for both academies, and recognized as a ‘Top Gun,’ being the most proficient shooter in his class,” the PCSO noted.
Deputy Perry joined the PCSO in September of 2022 and was assigned to the South County Jail in Frostproof after his oath of office ceremony on Dec. 13, 2022.
He leaves behind his father, brother, and grandmother.
“He will be greatly missed,” Sheriff Grady said. “Please keep his family in your prayers.”
Our hearts are hurting today with the loss of 22 yo Detention Deputy Drake Perry, who was killed in an off-duty vehicle crash yesterday (2/22/23) in #Groveland. Please keep his family & our agency family in your prayers.
Click here to read the release: https://t.co/q2LmPeoPua pic.twitter.com/hJ7ibeqAix
— Polk County Sheriff 🚔 Grady Judd (@PolkCoSheriff) February 23, 2023
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Polk County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Drake Sawyer Perry, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.