“We are saddened today by the loss of our valued PCSO agency member, Victor Lopez, who was killed in a traffic crash in Lake Wales while driving home from work this morning. We consider ourselves a family here at PCSO, and Victor’s loss is felt throughout the agency. Our thoughts and prayers are with Victor’s family during this tragic time.” – Sheriff Grady Judd
Around 6:23 a.m. this morning, Friday, October 26, 2012, a 1998 four door green Kia (his personally owned car) being driven northbound on U.S. 27 just south of CR 640 in Lake Wales by 62-year-old Victor Lopez of Haines City, for unknown reasons went into the median, striking a grey 2012 Nissan Rogue being driven by 59-year-old Martha Ritch of Lake Wales. She was in the median, facing westbound, about to turn onto southbound U.S. 27. The collision pushed her car out into the southbound lane, and she was subsequently struck by a 2003 blue four-door Toyota heading southbound being driven by 40-year-old Cheryl Greives of Winter Haven. Mr. Lopez's Kia came to a rest in the median.
Mr. Lopez suffered significant injuries and was declared deceased on-scene. He was wearing his seatbelt. The two other drivers were both taken to Lake Wales Hospital, but neither suffered serious injuries and both were treated and released. All three drivers were the only occupants of each of their vehicles.
It appears Mr. Lopez lost control of his vehicle. Polk County Sheriff’s Traffic deputies are seeking witnesses to this crash. If anyone saw anything this morning related to this crash, please contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 863.298.6200.
Victor Lopez was a civilian member of PCSO. He was hired in November 2000 as a detention support specialist, working in the South County Jail in Frostproof. A DSS performs support duties such as: operate security doors, handle inmate property, monitor movement of visitors, monitor inmate activity, provide information to the public, assist other Detention members, maintain office logs, etc. He was on his way home from work this morning after working the night shift when he lost control of his car. He is survived by a sister in Tampa, and four grown children – a daughter in Brandon, and twin daughters and a son in Puerto Rico. He is preceded in death by his wife.
“Victor took his job at the Sheriff's Office very seriously, and he came to work every day with this huge smile on his face. Whenever you spoke to him his face would always light up. His coworkers who counted on him for their safety knew he always had their back. We as his work family mourn his loss. We will come together and help each other through this tragic event.” – Captain James Hogan, Commander of the South County Jail.