Fla. deputy directing traffic outside high school graduation critically injured by 19-year-old driver

Because of the seriousness of his injuries, a helicopter was called in to fly Deputy Lahera to a trauma center where he remains in critical condition

By Mark Price
The Charlotte Observer

LECANTO, Fla. — A deputy directing traffic was critically hurt when a driver ran over him outside a Florida high school graduation ceremony, according to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office.

It happened about 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23, as a crowd was exiting ceremonies for Lecanto High School, about 80 miles north of Tampa, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

“While several of our deputies were directing traffic ... a motorist traveling south on South Lecanto Highway struck Deputy Andy Lahera,” the sheriff’s office said.

“Immediate life-saving measures were performed by on-scene deputies and other first responders who quickly traveled to the scene to administer first aid. Because of the serious nature of his injuries, a (medical evacuation) helicopter was called in to fly Deputy Lahera to a trauma center where he remains in critical condition.”

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the accident, which involved a 19-year-old woman from Homosassa, officials said. Her identity has not been released.

Detectives report she was on traveling on County Road 491 (also known as South Lecanto Highway) near the entrance to the campus when she “failed to observe” Lahera and struck him. Details of his injuries were not released.

Lahera, 50, was wearing a reflective vest and carrying a glowing traffic wand, officials say.

Investigators have not released details of charges against the driver.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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