Two weekend crashes, one fatal, involved Santa Rosa County deputies.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), around 12:45 a.m. Sunday, 26-year-old Paul Martin Upton was riding a bicycle eastbound on State Road 4 in Century. Officer James Miller was on duty and also headed east on State Road 4. Miller’s marked patrol car was in emergency mode in response to a call in Jay. For unknown reasons, the front of Miller’s car collided in the center of the roadway with Upton’s bicycle. Upton was transported by Lifeflight helicopter to Jay Hospital where he died as a result of his injuries.
Another crash Saturday morning involved a deputy, although his vehicle was not involved in the accident. At 11 a.m., just east of Snapdragon Drive on U.S. 98, 22-year-old Patrick Marcus Gentry’s 2007 Yahama 1000 motorcycle was headed westbound on U.S. 98 in the inside lane. 22-year-old Kevontae Terrell Snow’s 2002 Hyundai Sonata was also headed westbound in the inside lane well ahead of Gentry. A deputy activated his emergency lights, and Gentry accelerated to a high rate of speed. The deputy did not pursue Gentry, who misjudged his distance when he attempted to change lanes and struck the rear of Snow’s vehicle. The impact ejected Gentry onto the roadway, and he tumbled into the median. Gentry was transported to Baptist Hospital where he was listed in critical condition.
Charges are pending in both cases.