Deputy accused of fatally striking pedestrian while in patrol vehicle identified
Deputy 1st Class John Bellochi was off-duty at time of crash
OCOEE, Fla. – Officials have identified the off-duty deputy who is accused of fatally striking a pedestrian while driving his patrol vehicle home Monday night.
Officials from the Orange County Sheriff's Office said Deputy 1st Class John Bellochi will remain on regular duty but will take a few days off and meet with the agency's Critical Incident Stress Management team to discuss the crash.
He is a patrol deputy who has been with the agency since July 2008.
The Ocoee Police Department said Bellochi struck a pedestrian, who died at the scene, on State Road 50 and Blackwood Avenue at about 9:05 p.m. Monday.
Lt. Mike Bryant said the officer had a green light and the right of way.
"At this point, again, we haven't gotten the video from the red-light cameras, but everything, all the witnesses tell us, he had the green light," Bryant said. "We don't know why the pedestrian was in the road."
Bryant said Bellochi was distraught, knowing that there was nothing he could do to help the pedestrian.
"When you can't stop the car, it's one of those things. What are you going to do? Watch somebody die in front of you and it was at your hand? Even if it's not your fault, it's really tragic all the way around," Bryant said.
He urged pedestrians, particularly in busy areas, to be cautious and mindful of traffic.
"You got to watch you got to wait until there is a right way, the walking sign. You can't just try to (go)," Bryant said.
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