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Funeral held for Polk County sheriff's deputy | News

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Funeral held for Polk County sheriff's deputy

Winter Haven, Florida - Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says one of his deputies, a beloved sergeant, could have been alive today but he was more concerned about being parked in the way of others. Sheriff Judd says Sgt. Wesley Whitmore moved his patrol car and in an instant he was killed in a tragic car accident.

Hundreds of people attended the funeral Mass for 60 year old Whitmore Friday morning. It was held at Saint Joseph's Catholic Church at 523 Avenue M NW. The service started at 10 a.m. and ended around 1 p.m. 

Judd described Whitmore as, "A supervisor who took calls at the end of a 12 hour shift so his deputies could go home on time. A sergeant who loved to be a deputy."

The Polk County Sheriff's deputy was killed Sunday morning after his patrol car was hit in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven convenience store located at the corner of Spirit Lake Road and Recker Highway in Winter Haven. Sgt. Whitmore was just stepping out of his car when it happened around 10:30 a.m.

Investigators say 79 year old Leo Sanders blacked out behind the wheel of his Cadillac Escalade. He came off the road went through metal barriers, hit a woman and her business, before ramming into Whitmore's car as he stood next to it.

The woman, Wanda Perez, was treated and released from the hospital.

Sgt. Whitmore spent 15 years with the Polk County Sheriff's office. Before that he spent more than 25 years with the United States Air Force.

No charges have been filed against Sanders and Sgt. Whitmore's son says his father would have been upset if Sanders had been hurt. His son, also named Wes said, "My dad was a very selfless person. Probably the most selfless person I've ever known in my life."

Sgt. Courtney Daniels worked with Whitmore and says, "Wes truly cared about people and he was able to see the good in every single person whether it was a citizen, whether an arrestee, a deputy, everyone."

Deputy Earlanne Lewis also worked with Whitmore and says, "He was very special. I think that's usually why God takes someone so special. It shakes us and changes us."

Sgt. Whitmore leaves behind his wife who he was married to for 43 years. He leaves behind four children and ten grandchildren.






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