Wrong way crash takes life of deputy

Posted at 9:28 PM, Mar 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-12 21:28:11-05

TAMPA - A deadly wrong way crash on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway has claimed the lives of a Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy and the wrong way driver, authorities said.

The accident occurred shortly before 3 a.m. on eastbound Selmon Expressway near the east end of the expressway near Interstate 75.

The sheriff's office received a 911 call in regards to a wrong way driver heading westbound in an eastbound lane of the Selmon Expressway at the Brandon Express Exit Upper Deck.

Hillsborough County sheriff's Deputy John Kotfila, 30, was headed eastbound on the Selmon shortly after leaving Tampa General Hospital, where he investigated a traffic accident.

The wrong way vehicle, driven by Erik Thomas McBeth, 31, of Hudson, collided head-on with Kotfila's marked sheriff's cruiser.

Deputies said McBeth died at the scene. Kotfila was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where he died.

Hillsborough County sheriff's Col. Greg Brown struggled to hold back tears when he met with reporters before dawn Saturday to inform them Deputy Kotfila had died.

"It's a large family, and It's like losing a family member," Brown said. "It drives it homes to all of the deputies because it could have been anyone else's car."