FHP: DeLand police officer fatally strikes man, seriously injures another

DeLAND, Fla. — A DeLand police officer fatally struck a 58-year-old man and seriously injured a 50-year-old man late Wednesday, officials with the Florida Highway Patrol said.

DeLand police Officer Tony Tagle, 23, was driving a police cruiser north on North Woodland Boulevard shortly after 11:15 p.m. when he hit two men who were trying to cross the road at East South Street, Sgt. Kim Montes said.

Troopers said a man, whose identity hasn't been released, and Robert Weaver were taken to Florida Hospital DeLand. The unidentified man died at the hospital.

Tagle told investigators the men walked into traffic and he couldn't stop in time, Montes said.

Investigators said Tagle was returning from a call without any lights or sirens on, but they said there's no indication that he was speeding. There isn't a crosswalk at the intersection, and the area is poorly lit.

Deland's police chief said Tagle is distraught by the crash and that he rushed to help the victims.

Troopers said one of the men told investigators that the pair had been drinking alcohol before crossing the street, but it's unknown how much.

"We ran over to help, but there was nothing we could do for him," a witness who did not want to be identified said.

Troopers said the police car is an older vehicle, so it might not have a dashboard camera.

There have been been five fatal crashes in the last five years at the crash site. Four of the crashes involved pedestrians, officials said.

A spokesperson for the city said officials plan to to install lights, but it's unclear when or where the lights will go.

"Tagle, who was hired in June 2014, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation by FHP," police spokesman Chris Graham said. "Once that investigation is complete, the DeLand Police Department will conduct an internal review."

The investigation is estimated to take at least three months to complete.

Troopers took blood samples from everyone involved to test for alcohol and drugs.

Disciplinary records said that Tagle was suspended for one day without pay in 2015 for carelessness.

Investigators said Tagle was driving 78 mph in a 30 mph zone while following a van  driven by a fugitive. They said he slowed down and lost sight of the van.

The driver crashed the van into a tree and abandoned it, records said.