NEW: The late officer was a 20-year veteran of the Jupiter police department, its chief says
A pickup truck hit the police motorcyclist, a sheriff's office spokeswoman says
The officer, from Jupiter, Florida, later died at a West Palm Beach hospital, she adds
President Obama has been notified about the officer's death, the White House says
A police motorcyclist in President Barack Obama’s motorcade died Sunday in Florida following a serious highway accident, police and the top White House spokesman said.
The officer from the Jupiter, Florida, police department was transported around 4:40 p.m. to St. Mary’s Medical Center in nearby West Palm Beach after being critically injured in a crash. The man – identified as Officer Bruce St. Laurent – later died at the hospital, Jupiter police Chief Frank Kitzerow told reporters late Sunday.
Obama was notified of the death, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters after Air Force One landed in Washington. The president’s thoughts and prayers are with the officer’s family, according to the spokesman.
The Jupiter officer was traveling along I-95 through West Palm Beach when a Ford 150 pickup hit his motorcycle, West Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Therese Barbera told CNN.
The crash happened near the front of the president’s motorcade, and Obama himself did not see it unfold, according to Carney. The White House spokesman said no other vehicles from the motorcade were involved.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the accident, with assistance from the Florida Highway Patrol, said Kitzerow from the Jupiter police. These authorities were investigating the crash as a vehicular homicide, said Barbera, who stressed it still very early in the probe.
The Palm Beach Gardens and West Palm Beach police departments were also assisting on the case, including helping deal with arrangements for the officer and supporting the police force in Jupiter, according to Kitzerow.
St. Laurent was a 20-year veteran of Jupiter’s police department, including 18 years as a motor officer, his chief said. The late officer’s family has been told about his death, Kitzerow added.
CNN’s Stephanie Gallman contributed to this report.