Tampa, Florida -- The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is investigating an accident at Tampa Executive Airport involving a sheriff's office volunteer.
A deputy and the volunteer, who are both assigned to the sheriff's office Aviation Section, were reportedly conducting routine perimeter checks at the Hillsborough Aviation Authority (HAA) airport when they crashed into the airport's instrument landing system antennas.
"The volunteer, William Nelson, drove his personally owned 2013 Chevrolet Camaro onto the airfield with Deputy Paul Rogers as a passenger," said Colonel Jim Previtera. "Just before 6:00 a.m., for no plausible reason, Nelson drove his vehicle onto the main runway of the airport and apparently proceeded at a high rate of speed before losing control of the car at the southwest end of the runway and striking the ILS antennas. Neither occupant of the car was injured, but the ILS system for the airport was damaged to the point it was rendered inoperable.
"The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and the Hillsborough Aviation Authority were both notified and the Sheriff's Office immediately initiated criminal and administrative investigations. The Sheriff's Office is treating this incident with appropriate gravity and will work with the FAA to determine if any federal or state laws were violated by the involved personnel. The runway was closed for a brief time and the ILS systems remained inoperable as of Saturday night."
Deputy Rogers has been suspended while the sheriff's office investigates the accident. Nelson, who is a retired sergeant, has been removed from volunteer duties and could face criminal charges.