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March 12, 2021

The Tampa Bay community is mourning the loss of one of their own this week as they try to come to terms with the tragic death of Master Patrol Officer Jesse Madsen, who was killed in a wrong-way head-on collision with another vehicle early Tuesday morning along the northbound lanes of Interstate 275 between the Hillsborough and Sligh Avenue exit ramps.

According to law enforcement officials who were working at the time the first set of 9-1-1 calls came into local dispatchers, it was approximately 1:00 a.m. on March 9th, 2021, when patrol officers – including Madsen – were notified of a white sedan driving erratically against the flow of traffic in the southern direction of the northbound lanes of I-275. As one of the closest responders to the incident, Officer Madsen proceeded in his marked SUV to the stretch of interstate between the Hillsborough and Sligh Avenue exit ramps where the sedan was last spotted swerving and travelling at a high rate of speed.

Shortly after arriving in the area, Officer Madsen identified the suspicious sedan and proceeded to drive his SUV directly towards the car in order to stop the dangerous driving behavior before someone along the busy interstate was seriously injured or killed. Sadly, the driver of the sedan, now identified as 25-year-old Joshua Montague from Golden, Colorado, continued to drive the wrong-way down I-275 and crashed head-on into Officer Madsen’s police SUV. Both men were killed upon impact. A procession of patrol cars with their emergency lights illuminated lined the streets as the ambulance transported Officer Madsen to the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s office.

After serving with the United States Marine Corps., the 45-year-old husband and father of 3 devoted the next 16 years of his life to the Tampa Police Department where went on to become a seven-time recipient of the Tampa Police Department’s Life-Saving Award for his exemplary service to the Tampa Bay citizens. In what proved to be a heroic maneuver in the last moments of his life, witnesses to the deadly incident have come forward to state that Officer Madsen’s actions appeared that he was trying to save lives the same day he lost his. “We have reason to believe that he veered into this oncoming car to protect others,” Police Chief Brian Dugan said in a statement to the press Tuesday morning.

The investigation into this fatal auto accident is currently ongoing, and it is unclear at this time if drugs or alcohol played a factor.

Sources:

James O. Cunningham

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