An elderly Putnam County man was run over and killed by an off duty Putnam County sheriff's deputy late last week on U.S. highway 17 just south of Yelvington Road in East Palatka. The deputy, 38 year-old Pedro Ruiz, was heading north bound in his county issue police cruiser about 11:00 Friday night, when he struck 62 year-old Gilberto Gonzalez-Fuentes, as the man was apparently trying to cross the highway.
Gonzalez-Fuentes, said a press release, was standing in the middle of the road as the deputy approached and Ruiz was unable to avoid him. According to the Florida Times-Union when the cruiser struck Gonzalez-Fuentes he was thrown first onto the hood, then over the vehicle into the road where he was struck by another car driven by a 21 year-old woman from Valdosta, Ga. Amanda Issac, said the Times-Union, was driving behind the patrol car.
The Florida Highway Patrol investigated the incident and said in it's report Gonzales-Fuentes was wearing dark clothing, and the deputy simply did not see him. Authorities say a toxicology report on the victim is pending and no charges have been filed against the deputy or the other driver.