Secretary Julie Jones of the Florida Department of Corrections sadly reports the death of Sergeant Joseph Ossman. Moreover, Sheriff Arnold Lanier of the Hardee County Sheriff’s Department sadly reports the death of Deputy Sheriff Julie Bridges.
In the midst of Hurricane Irma, essential law enforcement personnel were and are still required to report for duty despite mandatory evacuations for civilians. Unfortunately these two dedicated law enforcement officers’ lives ended in the early morning hours while they were performing their duties.
Sgt. Ossman, 53, and a 21-year-veteran of the Florida Department of corrections was reporting for duty at the Hardee Correctional Institution driving his 2012 Nissan Altima.
At the same time, Deputy Bridges, 42, and a 13-year-veteran of the Hardee County Sheriff’s Department was performing her duties. She had been working all night at an evacuation shelter and was in the process of obtaining additional supplies from her home and driving the goods back to the evacuation shelter in her marked patrol vehicle.
Their lives came together and abruptly ended simultaneously as their respective vehicles struck one another head on. The violent collision occurred in the midst of Hurricane Irma, when most people were hunkered down in safety due to powerful winds, darkness from power loss, and flooding from torrential rains. Although they were wearing seat belts, both officers died at the scene.
The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the vehicle collision. A preliminary cause of the crash and possible contributing factors has not been made known.
Julie Bridges was a member of the Hardee County Sheriff’s Department Honor Guard and is survived by her eight-year-old son. No surviving family was listed for Joseph Ossman.
Corrections Sergeant Joseph Ossman is gone, but will never be forgotten.
Deputy Sheriff Julie Bridges is gone, but will never be forgotten.
End Of Watch: Sunday, September 10, 2017.
(Graphics courtesy Rose Borisow GrafX)