Friends mourn loss of man struck by trooper in St. Augustine

The Florida Highway Patrol says the trooper was pursuing an impaired driver

By Jenese Harris - Reporter/anchor, Ronnie Rodgers - Associate Producer

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - A trooper pursuing an impaired driving suspect accidentally struck and killed a pedestrian on U.S. 1 near State Road 207 in St. Augustine over the weekend, authorities said.

Trooper Kenneth Montgomery was heading south on U.S. 1 shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday when his marked vehicle hit Vincent Kinslow, according to a Florida Highway Patrol crash report.

Witness Andrew Pannell said he and Kinslow, 33, were walking across the highway when he heard the collision: "I dropped my bike and turned around, and I see him laying in the middle of the road."

RELATED: Pedestrian struck and killed by trooper while crossing road in St. Augustine

Kinslow was taken to Flagler Hospital, but he did not survive.

A spokesperson for the Highway Patrol said Montgomery, 61, who is part of the agency's DUI unit, did not have his lights and siren switched on when the crash happened.

"I got off the streets myself. So I was taking him and his girlfriend in to Vilano, in my little condo. But then this happened," said Pannell, who added he's known Kinslow for years.

Montgomery, 61, was not hurt, but he was shaken up by the crash, investigators said.

The Highway Patrol spokesperson said the dashboard camera inside the trooper's vehicle was recording at the time, but noted the video will not be released, citing the active investigation.

The trooper, who joined the Highway Patrol in 2014, will remain on duty until the investigation is complete, the spokesperson said. Instead, the agency will offer him counseling.

Pannell said Kinslow, described as a "good guy" and "hard worker," will be missed. "I just, I still don't understand. I'm just having a hard time with it right now," he said. 

A friend of Kinslow's, who wished to remain anonymous, spoke glowingly of her friend during an interview Monday with News4Jax. She said he and his wife lived in a tent camp in St. Augustine.

"He told me he had a job and he was fixing to get her and get out of town," the friend said. "He said he was going to take him and his wife and try to get back up north and try to get back on their feet."

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