PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office has identified the 44-year-old motorcyclist killed in a crash Thursday morning in San Mateo as Corrections Capt. Mark Elam.
Elam was traveling to work around 5:30 a.m. when the crash happened.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Elam was riding a blue Harley Davidson Electra Glide in the left lane of northbound U.S. 17 when a white Ford Transit Van stopped at the stop sign along eastbound North Boundary Road then attempted to cross the northbound lanes of U.S. 17 to access the southbound lanes. That’s when, according to troopers, the motorcycle struck the van on the left front and the rider was thrown off.
Authorities said Elam was taken to Putnam Community Medical Center, where he died. Authorities escorted his body to the medical examiner’s office.
Elam was an 18-year employee with the Sheriff’s Office, serving in the Putnam County Jail, according to a post on the Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page. Prior to his service with the Sheriff’s Office, Elam served four years in the United States Marine Corps.
Jail Director Major Scott Surrency said Elam was a larger-than-life influence among corrections deputies.
“The amount of support he had with deputies, he had an ability to reach people,” Surrency said. “He served as an inspector on Florida model jail standards and knew policies and standards with an almost photographic memory.”
Elam was scheduled for promotion to captain in May to fill the second-highest position in the jail. On Thursday morning, Sheriff H.D. “Gator” DeLoach posthumously promoted Elam to the position of captain.
“Capt. Elam left an indelible impression on everyone he met,” DeLoach said.
Col. Joseph Wells, the chief deputy, said Elam mentored a lot of deputies with the agency.
“As I’ve spent some time in our facility, throughout the day, one of the most common themes I hear is, well, ‘Mark trained me’ and, you know, ‘Mark taught me this, and I always looked up to him, he was great to go to get advice,’” Wells said. “So you know, to say that it’ll be hard to replace him is inaccurate. The fact is, we will never be able to replace him.”
Elam is survived by his wife and two sons. The Sheriff’s Office said Elam and his wife were in the process of adopting a sibling group of five children.
Troopers said the driver of the van involved in the crash was not injured.
Flags outside the Sheriff’s Office headquarters were flown at half-staff Thursday evening.