At approximately 6:00 am, 21-year-old Polk County Sheriff’s Office Deputy, William Tull, assigned to the Southwest District as a patrol deputy, had just completed his shift and was traveling home in the eastbound lanes of Havendale Boulevard in his agency issued patrol car, a 2007 Chevrolet Impala.
As Deputy Tull approached 42nd Street, 56-year-old Martin W. Knoetasch, (no known address) stepped into the path of the patrol car and was struck at the right front passenger corner of the vehicle. Knoetasch died at the scene.
Knoetasch was dressed in jeans and a medium to dark colored multi-striped shirt.
The intersection has street lights and several businesses located nearby. Charlotte Road runs north from Havendale, while 42nd Street runs south. You can see the intersection in the video below, courtesy of WFLA.
Preliminary information is that the traffic light was green and Deputy Tull had the right of way. Knoetasch appears to have traveled from Charlotte Road, south, had crossed the westbound lanes and the median, and had begun to cross into the eastbound lanes on Havendale on the west side of the intersection and into the path of the patrol car. Deputy Tull was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash and was uninjured.
The road was closed for approximately 3.5 hours.
Knoetasch had an extensive criminal arrest history with 78 criminal arrest charges and has been booked into the Polk County Jail 42 times. Knoetasch’s prior charges include 11 disorderly intoxication and alcohol related charges, 30 trespassing and public order related charges, and other charges to include theft, resisting arrest, battery, and failure to appear.
On Monday, June 9, 2014, Auburndale Police responded to the area of Havendale and 42nd Street regarding two separate reports of Knoetasch walking into traffic; once at approximately 11:00 am, and again at approximately 5:00 pm. Additional information indicates Knoetasch habitually wandered into parking lots and into Havendale Boulevard asking motorists for money.
It is the standard PCSO policy for mandated, independent reviews to be conducted when an agency related crash occurs resulting in a fatality. The PCSO Traffic Homicide Unit will conduct the traffic crash investigation. Upon the completion of that investigation the findings will be reviewed by the PCSO Administrative Investigations Section. All findings from the crash investigation will also be reviewed by the State Attorney’s Office of the 10th Judicial Circuit.