A police officer is being hailed as a hero after he intentionally veered into the wrong lane to save other motorists from an alleged drunk driver.
Montague was driving more than 160km/h the wrong way on a Florida highway while reportedly intoxicated when Madsen, who was on patrol, intercepted his path.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said Madsen intentionally veered his car into Montague's path to save the lives of other drivers.
“Officer Madsen is a true American hero,” Dugan said.
“He deliberately moved his patrol car into the other driver’s path of travel.
"We believe Jesse Madsen was attempting to stop this wrong-way driver from putting anyone else’s life in danger by laying down his own.”
Investigators said Montague weaved in and out of the of northbound lanes while travelling south.
Although toxicology reports are pending, Dugan said initial findings indicate the 25-year-old was intoxicated.
“There was beer bottles found at his hotel room and we have reason to believe he was at a local bar and was out drinking somewhere,” Dugan said.
Montague was moving to Tampa and had been in the city for less than 12 hours when the accident occurred, Dugan said.
Investigators said his bags had not been unpacked in his hotel room.
“This whole incident could have been avoided,” the chief said.
Sandra Bundy, who was Montague’s partner of six years, told the Tampa Bay Times he had moved to Tampa to work for a moving company.
His goal was to bring Bundy, their 3-year-old daughter, and her son from a previous relationship, to Tampa.
“Everything about what happened was terrible,” Bundy said through tears.
“People are talking about (Madsen) and they should, but Josh was a father, too. An amazing one.”
Hero cop a father of three
Madsen was married with three children.
Dugan said he will be awarded the police Purple Shield, which is presented to officers who suffer extreme injury or death in the line of duty.
The former US.Marine will also be awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest medal for employees who distinguish themselves “by an act of heroism at the cost of imminent personal danger”, Dugan said.
Madsen’s family will also receive the Gold Cross Award. His name will be added to the Fallen Officers Memorial.
A public funeral is planned for 11 am Tuesday, followed by a private service will at Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell.
With Associated Press
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org