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'True American hero': Tampa officer killed in the line of duty to receive Police Purple Shield and Medal of Honor

The Tampa Police Department says he veered into a wrong-way driver's path to save those in the area.
Credit: Tampa PD/ 10 Tampa Bay

TAMPA, Fla. — Master Patrol Officer Jesse Madsen is set to receive several new honors after Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan says he intentionally veered in front of a wrong-way driver to save others in the area.

During a press conference Thursday, Dugan said data from both cars are consistent with Madsen "purposefully placing his vehicle in front of Montague."

"Officer Madsen is a true American hero. 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. And laying down his own," Dugan said.

At the time of impact, the chief said the other driver 25-year-old Joshua Montague of Colorado was traveling more than 100 mph. A full toxicology report is pending, but the police department says initial findings show that Montague was intoxicated at the time of the crash.

Detectives have learned the 25-year old was in the process of moving to the area and had only been in Tampa for less than 12 hours at the time of the crash.

When police checked his hotel room they found beer bottles and his stuff unpacked, according to Dugan. Eyewitnesses also placed Montague at a bar ahead of the crash.

"This whole incident could have been avoided," Dugan added.

Due to the heroic actions of Officer Madsen, he will be awarded the Police Purple Sheild and the Medal of Honor. The police department said his loved ones will also receive the Gold Cross Award which is presented to families of law enforcement officers who die in the line of duty.

Madsen had been with the Tampa Police Department for 16 years. Dugan said he was a decorated police officer and a seven-time recipient of police life-saving awards. He dedicated his life to the safety and service of others, Dugan added, first as a United States Marine combat veteran, then as a police officer in Lyndhurst and Shaker Heights, Ohio.

Officer Madsen leaves behind a wife and three kids. 

If you want to help Officer Madsen's family, a donation fund has been set up by Rise Tampa. Find out how to donate here.

RELATED: Fallen Tampa officer veered cruiser into path of wrong-way driver to keep others safe, chief says

RELATED: Funeral service for fallen Tampa Police Officer Jesse Madsen set for Tuesday

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