At approximately 4:35 am, on 05/12/2007, Polk County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Brown initiated a traffic stop on a 2003 Lexus on the west side of the southbound lane of Highway 27, just south of B-Moore Road near Haines City, and while standing between the Lexus and his patrol car deputy Brown heard the driver of the Lexus, Frank Rodriguez Gomez tell him to “watch out.” Deputy Brown turned around and saw a truck about to hit his patrol car.
Deputy Brown and the driver of the Lexus, Frank Rodriguez Gomez, were both standing alongside the road discussing the reason for the traffic stop (a faulty tag light) when a 2004 Chevy Pick-Up Truck, driven by Charles Keeney III, plowed into the parked patrol car.
Deputy Brown and Gomez were standing between the front of the patrol car and the back of the Lexus when Gomez, who saw the oncoming danger, yelled for Deputy Brown. Deputy Brown turned to see the truck and quickly jumped up and was hit by his patrol car as the patrol car was pushed forward and into the Lexus, subsequently hitting Deputy Brown as he struck the windshield and rolled off the hood. Gomez, seeing the truck, was able to move out of the way and was uninjured.
The Lexus crossed both southbound lanes of Highway 27 and to the east side of the road and came to a stop in the grass median causing approximately $5000.00 worth of damage to the passenger side quarter panel.
The truck struck the back of the patrol unit then turned directly west and came to a stop at the fence that runs parallel to Highway 27. Deputy Brown ensured Gomez was not hurt and then checked on the driver of the truck.
Deputy Brown was transported to the Winter Haven Hospital where he was treated and released with a sore shoulder, leg, and ankle. Estimated damage to the patrol car is $8000.00.
While this is an ongoing investigation, Keeney has been charged with DUI and Careless Driving. (Other charges are possible to include violation of Florida’s Move Over Law.)
Keeney was arrested at the scene by another deputy who assisted after the crash occurred and booked into the Polk County Jail. He has since bonded out on a $500.00 surety bond.