PALM COAST, Fla. – A seven-year deputy with the Flagler County Sheriff's Office was fired after he failed to take action to prevent a deadly crash, the Sheriff's Office announced Monday.
According to a news release, Deputy Robert Finn was responding to a medical call in Palm Coast as a backup unit on June 16. Finn was exiting I-95 at Palm Coast Parkway just after 2 a.m. and encountered a wrong-way driver.
Finn did not take action to stop the driver and continued to the medical call, the Sheriff's Office said. Minutes later, a head-on collision was reported on I-95.
According to the Sheriff's Office, Finn went to the scene of the crash shortly after arriving at the scene of the medical call. A witness to the crash advised Finn that he saw the wrong-way driver pass "a cop," which was later determined to be Finn.
Finn stated that he had to swerve to avoid the wrong-way driver, but Finn believed the driver corrected his direction of travel and did not initiate a traffic stop, the news release said.
The crash on I-95 resulted in the death of Wendell Parker, who was driving in the wrong direction. The driver of the vehicle he crashed into had serious injuries, officials said.
"While we will never know with certainty if Deputy R. Finn could have changed the sequence of events and prevented this crash by attempting to stop the vehicle, we do know that as a law enforcement officer it was his duty to take immediate action and he failed to do so," said Undersheriff Jack Bisland with the Flagler County Sheriff's Office.
During the internal investigation, Finn was reassigned to the Sheriff's Office's communications center, where he handled phone calls. He worked with the Sheriff's Office since June 15, 2011.