Posted: 9:10 am Tuesday, January 10th, 2017
By Eric "Hollywood" Davis STAR 94.5
Norman Lewis was an 11-year veteran with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputy Lewis was hit and killed Monday by a van while working a perimeter in the search for the suspected gunman in the death of an Orlando police officer, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Troopers said he was hit on Pine Hills Road and Balboa Drive at about 9:43 a.m.
In my 36-year career, this is probably one of the toughest days in my career,” said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.
The van was traveling north on Pine Hills Road as the deputy was traveling south.
The driver of the van, Billie Jarrard, 78, of Clermont, made a left turn into the direct path of the motorcycle, which struck the right side of the van, FHP said.
“Based on eyewitness testimony, he (Jarrard) had a green light and he was not traveling at any inordinate rate of speed,” said Demings.
Lewis was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he later died from his injuries.
Jarrard was not hurt. Charges are pending.
“When I ran up to him, he wasn’t breathing. A nurse showed up at the same time,” said the witness. “I was holding his hand and was trying to keep him alive, keep him awake.”
Even before the identity of the fallen Orlando deputy sheriff was made public, Doug Gabriel instinctively knew it was his close friend and former UCF football teammate Norman Lewis.
“Getting word that the officer that was hit was a big, gentle giant … the only big, gentle giant officer we knew was Norm,” Gabriel said.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from UCF in 2004 and was an offensive lineman for the Knights from 2000 to 2003. Clayton, 42, also graduated from UCF, the school said.