Wife of officer killed escorting Obama sues

May 28, 2014 

WEST PALM BEACH -- The widow of a Florida police officer killed while escorting President Barack Obama's motorcade has sued the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, saying it was negligent in her husband's death.

Jupiter Police Officer Bruce St. Laurent died Sept. 9, 2012, after being struck by a pickup truck while he prepared to shut down a stretch of Interstate 95 ahead of the motorcade as Obama campaigned in Florida. His wife, Brenda St. Laurent, sued the sheriff's office for unspecified damages, claiming it "negligently allowed" the driver of the truck to enter the highway.

"Our investigation reveals that the motorcade efforts were so poorly planned and organized that the agencies involved failed to cordon off the southbound entrance to I-95 from 45th Street," St. Laurent's attorney, Michael Overbeck, wrote to Palm Beach Sheriff Ric Bradshaw in a letter included in the lawsuit, which was filed Thursday.

Teri Barbera, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office, said the agency had not yet been served with a copy of the lawsuit and could not offer any comment.

A report from the Florida Highway Patrol completed after the death found the driver of the truck was not speeding or distracted. The report said she had slammed on her breaks but could not avoid crashing into St. Laurent's motorcycle. St. Laurent, 55, was a 20-year veteran of Jupiter police and one of several officers from agencies across Palm Beach County helping with security for the president's visit.

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