Our network

Family remembers Polk deputy hit and killed | People

Title (Max 100 Characters)

Family remembers Polk deputy hit and killed
Family remembers Polk deputy hit and killed

Winter Haven, Florida - A Polk County Sheriff's deputy was killed Sunday morning after his patrol car was struck in the parking lot at the 7-Eleven store located at the corner of Spirit Lake Road and Recker Hwy.

60-year-old Sgt. Wes Whitmore spent 15 years with the department.

Before that, he served more than 25 with the United States Air Force.

"My dad was a very selfless person.  Probably the most selfless person I've ever known in my life," said his son, also named Wes.

Photo Gallery: Sgt. Wes Whitmore Junior

Deputies say Whitmore had just gotten out of his car at the 7-Eleven around 10:30 a.m.

That's when witnesses say a Cadillac Escalade 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.

He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

"Our respect and admiration is incredible for this man," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. "He was the epitome of what we want, not only in a deputy, but certainly in a supervisor."

The driver of the Escalade, 79-year-old Leo Saunders, remained in the hospital Sunday night with non life-threatening injuries.

Investigators say there are no indications of brakes being applied by the Escalade.  They tell 10 News it's unclear why the driver lost control.

Whitmore's son held back any hard feelings for him.

"I'm just glad he's okay, you know?  My dad would have been upset if he was hurt," he explained.

The woman who was hit outside her business, Wanda Perez, was released from the hospital on Sunday and is recovering at home, according to her family.

Whitmore became a detention deputy with PCSO in 1995, and then transferred to deputy sheriff in 1998. Sheriff Judd promoted him to the rank of Sergeant in 2008, and his most recent assignment was Central District patrol, in the Winter Haven area.

"He was a leader among men," said Sheriff Grady Judd.

He is survived by his wife, four kids, and ten grandchildren.


Polk County Deals

Polk County Businesses