Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Crime & Courts

Tampa deputy honored for lifesaving measures as sinkhole swallows man in home

See also

Perhaps bordering on the surreal nature of law enforcement experiences, Deputy Sheriff Douglas Duvall, a member of the Hillsborough County, Fla., sheriff's office, was the first one to arrive on scene in Seffner, Fla., on February 28, 2013 at approximately 11 p.m. Deputy Duvall responded to a frantic 9-1-1 caller who stated her house was collapsing and that her brother had fallen into a massive sinkhole.

More Photos

Deputy Duvall utilized his prior seven years' military experience, assessed the bizarre scene, and sought to save the lives of the home's residents. As the residual flooring of the house splintered and slid into the ever-widening gaping sinkhole, Deputy Duvall vacated the home and took matters into his own hands. Realizing one household resident was swallowed by the sinkhole's gaping width and increasing depth, Deputy Duvall directed his attention to the brother of the first victim, feared dead at that moment.

The most imperative matter was to save the life of the victim's brother who faced similar peril. Duvall risked his own life by kneeling down on the swiftly-eroding floor, extended his hand to a would-be second victim, and pulled him from the brink of certain death.

As Deputy Duvall described it, he felt as if he were balancing on a diving board, the home's flooring flexing beneath his body weight as he meticulously forged lifesaving measures.

For his courageous and heroic acts on that fateful night in February, Deputy Duvall was bestowed by Florida Governor Rick Scott with the state's Medal of Heroism.

No stranger to awards ceremonies, Deputy Duvall has an ever-growing collection of medals. Commencing in his years with the U.S. Army, Duvall garnered a Purple Heart after having been under fire in Baghdad, bombarded by a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG). Duvall has seen death serving in the military; the aforementioned RPG strike not only tore away pieces of his triceps, it also killed the driver of the military vehicle atop which Duvall was manning the gun.

Serving as a military policeman (MP) while in the U.S. Army from 2000-2007, Duvall returned stateside and joined the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office (HCSO), the same year he concluded military service. It seemed a natural progression, from military cop to county deputy, still serving the American people.

Locally, the Community Service Award was conferred upon Duvall by the Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla.

Duvall was also recognized as the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputy and the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by the Hillsborough County Bar Association.

Although Deputy Duvall was unable to save the life of Jeff Bush, whose body was never found and is presumed buried in the earth, he was able to save that victim's brother, Jeremy Bush, from a direct confrontation with death.

Still today, Deputy Duvall and Jeremy Bush remain in-touch, as is the case with the entire Bush family.

Deputy Duvall humbly and reservedly walked up to the podium to greet Florida Governor Rick Scott who draped Florida's Medal of Heroism around the neck of his HCSO formal dress uniform.

Amid myriad photographers and journalists recording the moment, Deputy Duvall's wife and three children were invited to partake in the ceremony, on stage at Florida's Cabinet Room in the Florida Capitol Building in Tallahassee.

A definitive hero was honored.


To automatically receive for FREE this writer's articles as they are written/published, simply click the "Subscribe" icon atop this page; each of his published works will be sent directly to your email account. Have an opinion, suggestion, or comment? Record what is on your mind in the "Comments" section below.



  • Mt. Everest avalanche
    Disaster strikes Mt. Everest as at least 12 people were killed in an avalanche
    Watch Video
  • Most Earthlike planet discovered
    The Kepler telescope has discovered the most Earthlike, possibly habitable planet yet
    Space News
  • Easter crosses create debate
    Easter crosses spark a debate of separation of church and state in Ohio
  • Chelsea Clinton is preggers
    Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child
  • Stanley Cup playoffs
    The battle for Lord Stanley's Cup is on, don't miss a minute of playoff action
  • Ukraine discussed amongst U.S., E.U., Russia
    The U.S., E.U. and Russia agree on ways to diffuse the tension in Ukraine
    Watch Video

Related Videos:

  • Austrian Teen Jihadists
    <div class="video-info" data-id="517985503" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>
  • Nigerian Police Officer at Bombing Crime Scene
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518198260" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>
  • Grandma left chilling murder-suicide note saying parents didn’t deserve their kids
    <div class="video-info" data-id="517685435" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about and apply today!