KISSIMMEE, Fla. – A 34-year-old Clermont man was killed Friday when an Osceola County sheriff's deputy struck his pickup truck from behind near Walt Disney World, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
The fatal wreck was reported on U.S. Highway 192 at Lindfields Boulevard near Kissimmee at 8:13 a.m.
FHP spokeswoman Kim Montes said several cars were stopped at the intersection when Deputy Gloria Boccio, 29, of Kissimmee, struck the back of a 2013 Ford pickup truck, which hit two other vehicles.
The driver of the pickup, identified as Robert Johnston, was airlifted to Osceola Regional Medical Center, where he died, Montes said.
"Bob was a wonderful person," said Johnston's mother, Bette Kilduff. "He worked at Disney and loved his job. He loved boating on the Homosassa River."
Boccio was taken to Celebration Hospital with minor injuries, the FHP said.
The drivers of the other vehicles were not injured. Everyone involved in the crash was wearing a seat belt, according to troopers.
Boccio was on her way to work to begin her shift at 9 a.m. at the time of the crash, according to Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson.
He said she has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an FHP investigation and an internal affairs investigation.
“It’s absolutely important to try to set that standard but also keep in mind that deputies are human beings and have to be held accountable for their actions,” Gibson said.
Records obtained from the Osceola County Sheriff's Office show that on Sept. 25, the vehicle Boccio used on Friday was sent to a local dealership because someone reporting the brakes failing. The report said that at times, the brake pedal can be applied until it touches the floor.
A service adviser wrote that mechanics were unable to replicate the issue. It's unclear if any work was performed on the brakes.