Early Tuesday morning in Tampa, Florida, a 25-year-old from Colorado managed to get onto a freeway going the wrong way and began dodging cars.
Calls were made, and a Tampa police officer responded. He drove along Interstate 275 and ended up hitting the wrong-way driver head-on.
It looked like just a horrible accident, but there is reason to believe it might have been an intentional, final, heroic act by Officer Jesse Madsen, who was killed in the crash.
REST IN PEACE: Officer Jesse Madsen was a husband and father of three who spent 16 years with the Tampa Police Department and was a U.S. veteran. He was killed in a wrong-way crash earlier this morning. MORE HERE: https://t.co/1z0Zg8CxUO pic.twitter.com/gYnqRZr4JV
— FOX 13 Tampa Bay (@FOX13News) March 9, 2021
Madsen, 45, was a Marine Corps vet and the recipient of not one, not two, but seven Life-Saving Awards from the Tampa Police Department.
He was a husband and father who loved going fishing with his kids and made an impact on the lives of many. And now he’s gone after the head-on collision that took place early Tuesday morning.
“Just before 1:00 AM on Tuesday morning, Tampa Police began receiving calls about a white vehicle driving southbound in the northbound lanes of I275 at a high rate of speed and swerving through the lanes,” the city of Tampa said in a news release Tuesday.
“Within a minute of the original call, the vehicle crashed into Officer Madsen’s police vehicle between the Hillsborough and Sligh Avenue exits. The impact killed both Jesse and the driver of the white sedan.”
“He earned our life-saving award seven times during his career,” Chief Brian Dugan said, according to Fox News. “We have reason to believe that he had veered into this oncoming car to protect others.
“So when you look at someone who has earned seven life-saving awards, it’s no surprise that he would take such swift action and do this.”
Madsen, who had wanted to be a police officer since he was just 8 years old, leaves behind children ages 10, 12 and 16.
“I don’t know really what to say other than he was extremely loved and was a very outgoing, strong, courageous guy,” Julia Madsen, his stepmother, told Fox News.
“He had the spirit of adventure in him from day one. He was always there for friends and family.”
A memorial fund has been set up for the family.
ICYMI: Here is how you can donate to the family of MPO Jesse Madsen. https://t.co/Pg5SH7TRCK
— TampaPD (@TampaPD) March 10, 2021
“They clearly are devastated,” Mayor Jane Castor said about Madsens.
“They are very, very thankful for the thoughts and prayers of the entire community.”
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