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Putnam County corrections officer killed in motorcycle crash on way to work, sheriff's office says

The victim in a deadly motorcycle crash in Putnam County Thursday morning has been identified as Corrections Captain Mark Elam, an 18-year sheriff's office employee.

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. — The victim in a deadly crash in Putnam County was a corrections officer on his way to work, according to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.

Corrections Captain Mark Elam, an 18-year employee with the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, was riding his motorcycle to work Thursday morning around 6 a.m. when he collided with a van in the San Mateo area, the sheriff's office said. He was taken to Putnam Community Medical Center, where he died.

Following Elam's death, members of the sheriff's office and the Palatka Police Department escorted his body to the St. Johns County line to the medical examiner's office, the Putnam County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post. The post thanked the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office for assisting with an escort through the county to St. Augustine.

"Elam was scheduled for promotion to Captain in May to fill the second highest position in the jail," the Facebook post says. "Earlier this morning, Sheriff H.D. 'Gator' DeLoach posthumously promoted Elam to the position of Captain and informed his family."

Elam served in the Putnam County Jail for 18 years, after serving four years in the United States Marine Corps, the sheriff's office said. He is survived by his wife and two sons, and he and his wife were in the process of adopting a sibling group of five children, according to the sheriff's office.

The post included several officers' fond remembrances of Elam.

“If you were wrong, he’d tell you that you were wrong, but he would help you fix the problem,” Sgt. Clayton Silva said. “He didn’t mince his words, but he never left anyone behind. He was a great person, a great supervisor.”  

Scroll down to read the full post from the sheriff's office.

According to an FHP report, a blue Harley Davidson Electra Glide was traveling northbound on US-17 in the left lane. Troopers say around the same time, a white Ford Transit Van was stopped at the stop sign eastbound on N Boundary Road and then attempted to cross over the northbound lanes of US-17 to access the southbound lanes.

The Harley Davidson struck the Ford Transit Van on the left front and the rider was ejected from the motorcycle, says FHP.

He was not wearing a helmet, according to the report.

Full post from Putnam County Sheriff's Office Facebook page:

It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of Corrections Capt. Mark Elam today.  

Elam was traveling to work this morning prior to 6 a.m. when he was involved in a motor vehicle crash in San Mateo. He was transported to Putnam Community Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries.  

Following his death, members of the sheriff's office and Palatka Police Department escorted his body to the St. Johns County line to the medical examiner's office. We would like to thank St. Johns County Sheriff's Office for assisting with escort through your county to St. Augustine.

Elam was an 18-year employee with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office serving in the Putnam County Jail. Prior to his service with the sheriff’s office, Elam served four years in the United States Marine Corps.  

“If you were wrong, he’d tell you that you were wrong, but he would help you fix the problem,” Sgt. Clayton Silva said. “He didn’t mince his words, but he never left anyone behind. He was a great person, a great supervisor.”  

Jail Director Major Scott Surrency said Elam was a larger than life influence among corrections deputies.  

“The amount of support he had with deputies, he had an ability to reach people,”Surrency said. “He served as an inspector on Florida model jail standards and knew policies and standards with an almost photographic memory.”  

Elam is survived by his wife and two sons. Elam and his wife were in the process of adopting a sibling group of five children.  

“He’s the most family-oriented, loving person I’ve ever known,” Silva said.  

Elam was scheduled for promotion to Captain in May to fill the second highest position in the jail. Earlier this morning, Sheriff H.D. “Gator” DeLoach posthumously promoted Elam to the position of Captain and informed his family.  

“Captain Elam left an indelible impression on everyone he met,” DeLoach said. “He was firm and never minced words but was fair. His work ethic and dedication to the sheriff’s office is unparalleled and served as an example to his subordinates and peers alike. When Mark died, we didn’t lose an employee. We lost a member of our family, a dear friend, leader, and mentor. His loss is the kind of hurt we feel in our bones. Mark will be in our hearts forever.”

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