- The Tampa Police Department is mourning the loss of one of their own. 45-year-old Officer Jesse Madsen was killed early Tuesday
while attempting to stop a wrong-way driver on I-275.
As night fell, bridges, buildings, and the Tampa Riverwalk were illuminated in blue. The color change is honoring a protector of the city, lost.
"We were really sad about what happened," said Andy Acevedo, who noticed the blue color by the Riverwalk.
Officer remembered for heroism, dedication to family
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Just before 1 a.m. Tuesday, a wrong-way driver was speeding and swerving on I-275 between Hillsborough and Sligh Avenues. Tampa Officer Jesse Madsen tried to intervene but the other driver, Joshua Montague of Golden, Colorado crashed into his cruiser, killing them both.
"We have reason to believe he veered into this oncoming car to protect others," said Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan.
"In the last seconds in his life, he took steps to try to save others by laying down his life," said Mayor Jane Castor. "That really is a true testament to the kind of individual that Jesse Madsen was."
The Tampa Police Department is mourning the loss of one of their own after a "highly-decorated" officer, a Marine Corps veteran who had been with the agency for 16 years, was killed in a wrong-way crash.
2021 has been especially difficult for Bay Area law enforcement. Madsen is the third killed in the line of duty.
January 11, Hillsborough County Master Corporal Brian Lavigne died
after a suspect hit his cruiser, one shift before he was set to retire.
"When someone called for help, he was going to go," said Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister the day of Lavigne's funeral. "Unfortunately, going to render that help is what led to him being murdered that evening."
February 17, Pinellas County Deputy Michael Magli lost his life
trying to stop a drunk driver.
"Deputy Michael J Magli was in the right place doing what cops do every day throughout this country, protecting others even if it means grave dangers to themselves," Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said at Magli's funeral.
In 16-and-a-half years with Tampa Police, Officer Madsen earned seven awards for life-saving acts. His final act of service likely saved even more.
TPD officer sacrificed life to save others from wrong-way driver
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This week, flags throughout the city will fly at half staff and blue lights will serve as a sobering reminder of what's at stake for those in uniform.
"We're here to pay respects and also to the families he left behind and all his friends and everything," said Acevedo. "He was giving his all to the city and helping people and being a great citizen."
Officer Madsen was also a combat veteran and a U.S. Marine. He leaves behind a wife, two sons and a daughter.
Those interested in donating to the Madsen family can do so through the Tampa Police foundation, Rise Tampa. Officials said 100% of the donations will be given directly to the family.
There are several ways to donate:
In person - Monetary donations can be submitted to any Bank of Tampa branch in MPO Madsen's name
By mail - Checks or money orders can be sent to:RISE Tampai/c/o MPO MadsenPO Box 172816Tampa, FL 33672
Online - risetampa.org/officermadsen
Venmo - @risetampa
PayPal - paypal.com/paypalme/risetampa