HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — The HCSO deputy who hit and killed a 15-year-old pedestrian earlier this month was going about 20 mph over the speed limit at the time, Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a press conference.
Josiah Pinner was crossing the street on Jan. 11 at 6:25 p.m. when Deputy Philip J. Montesi, driving an unmarked 2011 silver Hyundai Elantra, swerved to avoid hitting one teenager and hit Pinner.
Chronister says the deputy approached the intersection with a solid green light, and the Elantra's lights were on. He also said Montesi was traveling at 66 mph in a 45 mph zone.
“It’s concerning and that’s why internal affairs will review the case to see if his speed justified his actions. But absolutely I think that anytime we have a deputy sheriff speeding or anyone who exceeds the speed limit better have a very justifiable reason of why they are doing it.”
Neither teenager was in the marked crosswalk.
Deputy Montesi traveled past the incident and turned around. Sheriff Chronister emphasized this was not a hit-and-run.
"This is a terrible accident that involves our office and has impacted our community. I am extremely sensitive to that and want to express my deepest condolences to Josiah's mother, father and entire family," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "As a father, I cannot imagine losing a child. I am hopeful that out of this tragic event, greater conversations and efforts to educate our children in the area of pedestrian and bicycle safety take place to prevent future tragedies."
The investigation is still active and ongoing pending medical examiner results, accident reconstruction and further interviews.
Montesi will be referred to the Professional Standard Section for review of any possible violations of standard operating procedures and is currently on the job.
Deputy Montesi has been employed at the Sheriff's Office since 2013 and has been involved in three traffic crashes during his tenure. The Motor Vehicle Crash Review Board deemed two of the crashes "unavoidable" and the third crash "excusable."