ST. PETERSBURG -- Pinellas deputies say they've arrested a man suspected in the death of a Pinellas deputy at a construction site Thursday evening.
The sheriff's office says the man identified tentatively as 35-year-old Victor Vasquez-Real was arrested Friday morning.
Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says Vasquez-Real was driving a front loader that struck and killed 51-year-old Deputy Michael Hartwick. The deputy was providing traffic safety for construction crews working on I-275 near Roosevelt Boulevard. The sheriff says Vasquez-Real drove the front loader for another mile after striking Hartwick. Vasquez-Real then climbed off the machine, told a co-worker that he had killed a deputy. took off his reflective clothing and took off. That man then hid the gear, according to Gualtieri, and is now charged with accessory after the fact.
Gualtieri says Hartwick was a 19-year veteran of the force, divorced with adult children.
He becomes the second Pinellas deputy to lose his life on duty in the past two years, after a century without an on-duty fatality for the agency.