Timeline: Osceola County Sheriff's Office response after deputy caused fatal crash

Events after Oct. 5, 2018, deputy-involved crash

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

On Oct. 5, 2018, an Osceola County deputy was involved in a fatal crash and then weeks later was in another crash. She was found to be at fault for both, according to crash reports.

Below is a timeline of the investigation and what records reveal happened in response to that deadly crash.

Oct. 5, 2018: Robert Johnston, 34, dies after an Osceola County sheriff's deputy struck his pickup truck from behind near Walt Disney World, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Troopers said Deputy Gloria Boccio, 29, struck the back of Johnston's 2013 Ford pickup, causing him to hit two other vehicles.

Boccio was on her way to work to begin her shift at the time of the crash, according to Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson. She was placed on administrative leave.

Oct. 9, 2018: The Osceola County Sheriff's Office temporarily takes at least two patrol cars off the road for brake inspections following a fatal crash involving Boccio's Dodge Charger.

After road-testing the vehicle for about eight miles, mechanics at the Napleton's South Orlando Dodge dealership were unable to duplicate the issue on Boccio's patrol car, according to an invoice.

Oct. 12, 2018: Audio recordings obtained by News 6 revealed Boccio claimed the brakes on her patrol car malfunctioned just before it crashed into the rear of a stopped pickup truck on Oct. 5, 1018.

"I need to talk to them. These brakes, there's no f------ brakes on my car just now," Boccio said in the recorded call. "They said they replaced the brakes, but there was no brakes on my car."

Boccio was placed on administrative leave as the Florida Highway Patrol and the Sheriff's Office conduct simultaneous investigations.

Oct. 16, 2018: Boccio is cleared to "return back to work at a full time status" 11 days after the crash, according to a Sheriff's Office memo obtained by News 6.

Nov. 6, 2018: A little more than a month after striking a pickup truck, killing its driver, Boccio is involved in another crash, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Boccio is ticketed for an improper lane change.

Maj. Jacob Ruiz said Boccio was back from administrative leave in connection with the Oct. 5 fatal crash for about a week when she caused a chain-reaction crash on State Road 417.

Nov. 7, 2018: Boccio is reassigned to a role that does not require her to drive a patrol vehicle until an internal review can be completed, officials from the Osceola County Sheriff's Office said.

Nov. 8, 2018: Investigating troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol said they couldn't determine why Boccio's squad car crashed into a pickup truck, causing the fatal collision, because the Osceola County Sheriff's Office was not cooperating with the investigation.

A spokesperson for the Sheriff's Office said the agency cooperated with the investigation into its deputy's involvement in the deadly crash, and has turned over all requested evidence to the FHP, which is in charge of the investigation. However, documents show the Sheriff's Office did not deliver numerous requested pieces of evidence, including radio transmissions, Boccio's work-issued cellphone and assigned computer, to help determine if she was distracted while she was driving.

Jan. 10, 2019: A $200,000 settlement is reached months after Boccio caused a crash killing a 34-year-old Clermont man.

January 13, 2019: Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson said Boccio is placed on administrative leave with pay as the investigation into the crashes moves forward.

Gibson told News 6 that Boccio had been assigned to desk duty after the crash, but he said she was then removed from duty "not as punishment" but as "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 brother of the Clermont man killed in the Oct. 5, 2018, crash slams the Sheriff's Office handling of the investigation.

"It's unconscionable that this sheriff is trying to make the deputy sound like a victim in this," Brian Johnston said in a statement to News 6.

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