On Tuesday, April 20, 2004, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputy David Abella, was fatally injured in a patrol car crash while responding to a call for service. Deputy Abella, a nine month veteran of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, leaves behind a wife and three small children. This is the first Hillsborough County Deputy to die in the line of duty in 17 years.
Florida Highway Patrol troopers from the Tampa and Brooksville districts worked behind the scenes to secure I-75 and close the entrance ramps from SR 60 in Hillsborough County to CR 470 in Sumter County for the eight mile long funeral procession of friends, family members, and fellow law enforcement officers from all over Florida that traveled over 40 miles to the Florida National Cemetery where Deputy Abella was laid to rest. The Tampa/Pinellas Park motor squad assisted the Hillsborough County Sheriff's escort of Deputy Abella and his family, while thousands of citizens lined SR 60 and the interstate to pay their respects. Tampa district troopers and supervisors assisted the Sheriff's Office with their calls for service so that their deputies could attend the funeral service and burial.
The Florida Highway Patrol's thoughts and prayers are with Deputy David Abella's family and the men and women of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office during this very difficult time. Deputy Abella paid the ultimate price in the line of duty so that we all might sleep a little safer at night. Deputy Abella's sacrifice does not go unrecognized or unappreciated by the 1600+ men and women of the Florida Highway Patrol.