PAHOKEE, Fla. — Two Palm Beach County sheriff's deputies who had tried to stop a stolen vehicle on a rural road in the Everglades were killed when they were struck by a fellow deputy's patrol car early Wednesday. The driver of the patrol car was injured, authorities said.
Scores of officers combed the region looking for two suspects in the car theft, and later said they arrested one man.
The deputies, described as very close friends, had put spikes on a road that punctured the stolen car's tires. But when they ran to remove the spikes from the road they were struck at about 1:45 a.m. by a canine patrol vehicle that was pursuing the car thieves, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said.
"They probably did not estimate the K-9 was coming at the speed that it was," Bradshaw said at a news conference.
"You're talking about a road that is absolutely pitch black," he said.
"Everybody involved in this was doing their job. They were doing it the right way but this is a dangerous job," he said.
The stolen car stopped after its tires were punctured and two suspects fled into sugarcane fields. The patrol car that struck the deputies slid into a canal.
At least 75 officers and several canine units spent five hours combing the fields between Pahokee and Belle Glade.
Police later arrested Ernie Kirk Daley Jr., 19, and worked to identify the second suspect, Bradshaw said. He said they would be charged with four felony counts of fleeing and eluding a police officer with injury.