The Florida Highway Patrol reports a law enforcement officer from Safety Harbor died in fiery crash on Tuesday morning.
Troopers say 25-year-old Joshua Montaad was driving north on U.S. 19 during a rainstorm when he lost control of his 2007 Ford Expedition.
The SUV went off the road north of Burley Brannen Road in Taylor County, hit a tree, caught fire and became engulfed in flames. Paramedics say Montaad died before arriving at a local hospital.
Montaad was a law enforcement officer with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement.
Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam issued a statement Wednesday on Montaad's passing.
“Officer Joshua Albert Sanchez Montaad tragically lost his life in a fatal crash while in the line of duty. It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of such a dedicated and vibrant man who chose to make selflessly serving others his life’s work. I pray for Officer Montaad’s family, loved ones and colleagues during this time of sorrow, and may God be with us all as we grieve.”
Family members wrote on Facebook that Montaad was driving to a job interview at the agency when the accident occurred. He was applying for an investigation position hoping to further his career.
Montaad is the third officer with the Florida Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement to die in the line of duty and first since 1994.