Osceola County deputy on leave with pay after fatal crash

Sheriff Russ Gibson: "It's not a punishment."

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - An Osceola County sheriff's deputy involved in a deadly crash last October has been placed on administrative leave with pay as the investigation moves forward.

Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson told News 6 that Deputy Gloria Boccio had been assigned to desk duty after the crash, but he said she was then removed from duty.

"It's not a punishment," he said. "It's just a break from this job and this stress to really concentrate on maybe her at this point and to process everything that's happened up until this point."

The crash happened along Highway 192 near Disney, and the impact killed the driver of the pickup truck, 34-year-old Robert Johnston.

Boccio claimed in a 911 call that her brakes failed.

Florida Highway Patrol investigators are working to determine what caused the crash.

"It breaks my heart any time there's a loss of life here," Gibson said. "It's horrible."

Gibson also reacted to last week's decision by Osceola County commissioners. They agreed to pay Johnston's family a $200,000 settlement.

"Nothing that we do is going to be able to bring that young man back," he said. "Again, that's heart wrenching. It's heart wrenching for me, it's heart wrenching for Deputy Boccio and more than anything, it's heart wrenching for that family."

Brian Johnston, the victim's brother, gave a statement to News 6:

"It's unconscionable that this sheriff is trying to make the deputy sound like a victim in this. It's just further proof that he lacks the compassion and empathy that a public servant should have. If it was heart wrenching for the deputy, maybe she wouldn't have caused another distracted driving accident a month after killing my brother. I saw my brother dead with a neck brace and tubes coming out of his body because this woman didn't have the decency or ability to watch where she was driving. This sheriff clearly only cares about himself and his department. It's been evident that he's been more concerned about covering his own back since he barged in on my family at the hospital the day my brother was murdered by this deputy. This coward of a man has absolutely no right to speak about my family. Neither of them can even begin to imagine the hell they are putting my family through. Hearing him make comments like this makes our hell even worse. These people need to take responsibility for their actions. After his comments here I think the only reasonable course of action for him is to resign."

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