BRANDON -- Two people, including a Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputy, were killed around 3 a.m. Saturday in a wrong-way crash on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.
The crash happened on the east end of the expressway.
According to investigators, Erik McBeth, 31, entered the expressway going the wrong way on the Brandon Town Center ramp. That's when they say McBeth collided with a patrol car driven by Deputy John Robert Kotfila Jr., 30.
The deputy was returning to the District 4 station after working another traffic crash. McBeth died at the scene of the crash.
Investigators say the top of the patrol car was cut off to extract Kotfila. He was taken to Tampa General Hospital in serious condition, but later died.
Investigators say it's too early to determine if alcohol was a factor in the crash.
Kotfila had been with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office for six years.
"This is a loss not only to HCSO but to all the law enforcement officers who are trying to do their job and get home alive," said Col. Greg Brown.
The agency said Kotfila was a traffic accident investigator and a founding member of the agency's SafetyNet Team, which assisted in finding adults and children with special needs who had wandered from home.
Gov. Rick Scott released the following statement regarding Kotfila's death:
"Ann and I are heartbroken by the death of Deputy John Robert Kotfila, whose tragic loss will not only be felt by his family members and fellow officers, but also by Floridians across the state. Our law enforcement officers bravely and selflessly risk their lives to protect us. As Governor, I honor the sacrifices these heroic men and women in uniform make to serve our families. Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with the family and colleagues of Deputy Kotfila."
Les Miller, chairman of the Hillsborough County Commission, also released a statement: "Hillsborough County has suffered a tragedy today with the loss of Deputy John Robert Kotfila Jr. of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. It is unfortunate that anyone has to experience the grief and pain from a fatal traffic incident, but especially for our law enforcement officers who dedicate their lives to keeping each of us safe. On behalf of all of the citizens of Hillsborough County, I offer condolences and prayers to Deputy Kotfila's family, and the family of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office."