Florida agriculture officer dies in crash on I-95 in Nassau County

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – A Florida Agricultural Law Enforcement Officer died after a crash on I-95 in Nassau County, the Florida Highway Patrol said Sunday.

At around 8:30 p.m., Officer James McWhorter, 31, was attempting to cross the southbound lanes of I-95 at the median in a marked Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services patrol car near mile marker 380. When he pulled out he was struck by a Ford F-150 truck on the passenger side. Both vehicles ended up on the right shoulder of the highway.

The four passengers of the Ford were transported to a local hospital with minor injuries.

Officer McWhorter worked in the Law Enforcement Division of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for over two years. He leaves behind a fiancée and four children.

FHP is investigating this crash.

Joe Tillman said McWhorter and he went to the police academy together.

“I can say that James through our academy was the most genuine people in the class. He was always friendly, willing to help out another classmate,” Tillman said. “I know James had children and my heart breaks for his family.”

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried issued a statement Sunday about McWhorter: “The Florida Department of Agriculture is devastated to learn of the passing of one of our own while on duty last night. Our hearts are with Officer McWhorter’s loved ones during this incredibly difficult time. We are so grateful to him for his service to our state, and we owe him and his family a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid.”

McWhorter was hired by the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement in January 2019 and sponsored through the law enforcement academy at the Florida Gateway College Public Safety Training Center where he graduated and was certified in June 2019. He was stationed on Interstate 95 in Nassau County where he was well-liked and respected by his peers. Officer McWhorter is described as a loving family man who loved helping people and was a great listener.

“Officer McWhorter was an excellent officer and devoted to his family, co-workers and the public he served. We will miss him greatly and send our condolences to his family, friends and fellow officers during this difficult time,” said Colonel James Wiggins, Director of the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement.

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