Friends and loved ones gathered Friday to say goodbye to Florida Highway Patrol Master Sgt. William Bishop who was killed in the line of duty over Father's Day weekend. Around one thousand people attended the funeral service, hundreds of which traveled to Lake City from around the country.
Troopers are still trying to determine why a vehicle hit and killed Sgt. Bishop. It happened along Interstate 75 near the Alachua-Columbia County border. He has been tending to another crash when he was struck.
He was a veteran of Florida High Patrol, having worked there for over 30 years. Many, like Lt. Eddie Elmore, called him a mentor and leader.
"He was a trooper's sergeant, and when we say than, 'a trooper's sergeant', that's one of the best compliments you can give a trooper because he looked after his people, he cared about his people," Lt. Elmore said.
He says it's hard to lose one of their own. Because of that, they usually hand the investigation over to another agency. In this case, he says charges are still pending as they are still investigating the details of the fatal crash.
"Not only do we have to deal with violent offenders we also have to deal with motorists not paying attention, motorists who are driving distracted and of course this is a stark reminder to everyone that when they are driving that's all they're doing," Lt. Elmore said. "They are driving, not driving distracted, not looking at your phones, and unfortunately this is one of those cases where it didn't end well for us."
Bishop leaves behind a wife and son.
FHP released the following statement:
"It is with the heaviest of hearts that we report Sergeant William Trampass Bishop, a member of the Florida Highway Patrol, has succumbed to injuries he sustained while on duty in Alachua County this evening. Sergeant Bishop was a 30 year veteran FHP Trooper, who, like all troopers, put the well-being of those he serves above his own to keep Florida roadways safe. Every member at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is grieving with Sgt. Bishop’s family during this horrific time.
Sergeant Bishop was struck on Interstate 75 southbound while he was outside of his patrol car. This is a tragedy that highlights the risks that FHP troopers encounter every day as they serve our state.We appreciate all of the support FHP has received and continues to receive. Please keep Sergeant Bishop’s wife and son and all members of the Florida Highway Patrol in your thoughts and prayers."