ORLANDO, Fla. – A Florida Highway Patrol trooper was killed Friday morning in a crash on State Road 408 in Orlando, according to officials.
Authorities said Trooper Tracy Vickers, 31, died in the crash, which was reported around 6 a.m. Friday on S.R. 408 near Conway Road. All eastbound lanes of S.R. 408 are closed in the area, causing a major traffic backup.
The FHP said Vickers was traveling east when his cruiser struck an unoccupied truck carrying construction equipment. An official from the Central Florida Expressway Authority said the truck was there to help accommodate for an in-lane toll system upgrade.
"The entire FLHSMV family and his FHP brothers and sisters are heartbroken today as we mourn the loss of Trooper Tracy Vickers. Trooper Vickers was a leader within the patrol and his troop," FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes said. "Please keep his family in your prayers.”
The FHP said Vickers served as a field training officer and had been working at the state agency for more than four years. He also served in the U.S. Navy.
FHP Colonel Gene Spaulding said the crash investigation is still in its early stages and it could be several weeks before authorities know what happened.
Officials said they're working to recover dash camera video from Vickers' patrol car since the impact of the crash should have activated the device. It's unclear if authorities will be able to recover the equipment given the damage from the crash. However, if video is available, it would show the 30 seconds prior to the crash.
Vickers, who died at the crash site, was the only person injured. He was driving home at the end of his shift and was not responding to a call. Law enforcement officers have since transported his body to a medical examiner's office.
He was a 31-year-old Navy veteran who also served on FHP's quick response team, which is activated during hurricanes and other large-scale events.
Spaulding described Vickers was a mentor and leader. Now, agency officials are working with Vickers' family to ensure that he's remembered for all he did for the community.
"He did it willingly, he did it passionately, and he did a phenomenal job for us," Spaulding said. "He will truly be missed."
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said his heart goes out to Vickers' family.
[TRAFFIC: Check conditions for your commute]
Video from Sky 6 showed Vickers' FHP cruiser wedged next to a truck.
All ramps on SR 408 east were closed from downtown Orlando to Lake Underhill Road. The Lake Underhill pedestrian walkway was also shut down.
All lanes shut down on SR-408 Eastbound near Conway Rd over the bridge. Expect major delays. Accident involving two vehicles. pic.twitter.com/VZ40cDBO4i— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) September 27, 2019
Troopers are giving us updates from here at the staffing area near SR-408. They say the eastbound lanes will be shutdown for at least the next three hours and possibly until noon. They cannot confirm the condition of the trooper involved in the crash. https://t.co/8TQAwQwD5O pic.twitter.com/taJ53nYfgt— Mark Lehman (@MarkLehman6) September 27, 2019
Sky 6 remains over a serious crash involving a Florida Highway Patrol cruiser. You are asked to avoid this area. High 408 EB closed near Conway Rd. Backups now extend 3.5 miles. pic.twitter.com/SgxbjgJBgM— Jonathan Kegges (@JonathanKegges) September 27, 2019
Everyone at the Orange County Sheriff's Office is standing with and praying for our brothers and sisters of @FHPOrlando this morning after the serious crash involving a #Trooper. pic.twitter.com/tqzicDhupO— Orange County Sheriff's Office (@OrangeCoSheriff) September 27, 2019
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