A Tampa police officer is being hailed as a hero this week after witnesses say he intentionally drove his vehicle into another car to stop innocent people from getting killed.
Other officers say Master Patrol Officer Jesse Madsen, a 17-year veteran of the Tampa Police Department and a former combat Marine, died at the scene of the crash around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning. Witnesses said it looked like he deliberately veered his car into another vehicle that was weaving and speeding the wrong way down I-275. While an investigation is still ongoing to figure out what sparked the incident in the first place, police say they’ve confirmed that vehicle was a rental car and that the driver, a 25-year-old Colorado man named Joshua Daniel Montague, also died at the scene.
Madsen, 45, was well known in the department for putting others’ lives ahead of his own, having earned seven life-saving awards during his nearly two decades with the department.
"He earned our life-saving award seven times during his career," Tampa Chief Brian Dugan said Tuesday. "We have reason to believe that he had veered into this oncoming car to protect others."
The officer’s stepmother told Fox News that Madsen had wanted to be a police officer since he was a little boy.
"I don’t know really what to say other than he was extremely loved and was a very outgoing, strong courageous guy who wanted to be a police officer since he was 8 years old," she said.
Madsen leaves behind a wife and three children. The city has set up a memorial fund for his family.