San Mateo, FL – Putnam County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) Corrections Captain Mark Elam died in a motorcycle crash while on his way to work on Thursday morning.
The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) said Corrections Capt. Elam was riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle northbound on U.S. 17 at approximately 5:30 a.m. when the driver of a Ford transit van pulled out from a stop sign at North Boundary Road and tried to cross U.S. 17, WJXT reported.
The corrections captain collided with the side of the van and was launched from the motorcycle during the crash, the FHP said.
He was rushed to Putnam Community Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries, WJXT reported.
Corrections Capt. Elam served the U.S. Marine Corps for four years before joining the PCSO 18 years ago, the PCSO said in a Facebook post on Thursday afternoon.
“If you were wrong, he’d tell you that you were wrong, but he would help you fix the problem,” PCSO Sergeant Clayton Silva said in the agency’s post. “He didn’t mince his words, but he never left anyone behind. He was a great person, a great supervisor.”
PCSO Jail Director Scott Surrency described Corrections Capt. Elam as having a “larger than life influence” on his fellow corrections officers, the department said.
“The amount of support he had with deputies, he had an ability to reach people,” Director Surrency said. “He served as an inspector on Florida model jail standards and knew policies and standards with an almost photographic memory.”
Corrections Capt. Elam was promoted to the rank of captain posthumously by Putnam County Sheriff H.D. “Gator” DeLoach, according to the PCSO’s post.
He was already slated to be promoted during an upcoming ceremony in May.
“Captain Elam left an indelible impression on everyone he met,” Sheriff DeLoach said. “He was firm and never minced words but was fair. His work ethic and dedication to the sheriff’s office is unparalleled and served as an example to his subordinates and peers alike.”
“When Mark died, we didn’t lose an employee. We lost a member of our family, a dear friend, leader, and mentor,” the sheriff continued. “His loss is the kind of hurt we feel in our bones. Mark will be in our hearts forever.”
Corrections Capt. Elam leaves behind his wife and two sons, according to the PCSO.
His family was in the process of adopting a sibling group of five more children when he was killed.
“He’s the most family-oriented, loving person I’ve ever known,” Sgt. Silva said.
We want to express our gratitude for the messages of condolences and support as we navigate with Capt. Mark Elam's family his unexpected death in a motor vehicle accident yesterday. pic.twitter.com/J9oYIL2xHQ
— Putnam County (Fla.) SO (@PutnamCountySO) April 9, 2021
Sheriff Marcos R. Lopez and the @OsceolaSheriff stand with the residents of the State of Florida as we mourn the loss of Corrections Captain Mark Elam, of the @PutnamCountySO. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and the entire Law Enforcement family. pic.twitter.com/UJQtOv08oJ
— Osceola County Sheriff's Office (@OsceolaSheriff) April 9, 2021
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Captain Mark Elam, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.