POINCIANA, Fla. — A former law enforcement officer was arrested after he reportedly drove into a group of students here while allegedly being under the influence of alcohol, killing one of them.
John Camfield, 48, was reportedly driving while drunk on Thursday when he struck five middle school students, who had just stepped off of a school bus and were walking home, and then Camfield continued driving, according to an affidavit from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Camfield is a former officer who has worked for at least four law enforcement agencies in Mississippi.
A witness who was traveling behind Camfield saw him lean forward in his car, leave the roadway and drive onto the shoulder, and then strike the students, who were walking on the shoulder of the roadway, according to the affidavit.
Two of the students suffered life-threatening injuries and were airlifted to the hospital. One of those students, Jahiem Robertson, 13, died of his injuries on Friday.
Witnesses stated in the affidavit that after striking the students, Camfield did not stop, but drove away without offering aid. One witness followed Camfield until she observed the vehicle apparently stopped. Camfield had crashed into the rear of a stopped car, which disabled his car and prevented him from traveling farther.
Meanwhile, off-duty Polk County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sheriff Jonathan "JJ" Quintana, who lives in the area, was on the phone with his 11-year-old daughter, who had called him to come pick her up from the bus stop (she rides the same bus), when she saw Camfield crash into the students. His daughter began screaming into the phone, and Quintana ran out of his house, barefoot, to the scene, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Office.
When the deputy arrived and saw the injured children, he ran back to get his patrol car with his first aid kit inside. He drove back to the scene to tend to the victims, and saw two nurses treating the injured. They told him which direction the suspect vehicle fled. Quintana caught up to the suspect vehicle on Poinciana Parkway, where it had crashed into the stopped car. Quintana detained the suspect while calling for backup. Deputies were already en-route, having been called by witnesses.
At about 6 p.m., a traffic deputy made contact with Camfield at the second crash scene after he had been detained by Quintana. He reportedly noticed signs of impairment during field sobriety tasks and the faint odor of alcohol coming from Camfield, as well as poor coordination and balance.
A breath test was conducted on Camfield at the Polk County Jail. The results were a blood alcohol level of 0.147, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff's Office has hailed Quintana a hero for catching Camfield.
This is PCSO Deputy J.J. Quintana, who ran out of his house last night, off-duty, barefoot, & caught DUI suspect Camfield. He's our hero. pic.twitter.com/g1GRXm4tpo— Polk County Sheriff (@PolkCoSheriff) April 28, 2017