Sunday, October 15, 2006


It's always a tragedy when a law enforcement officer dies, but the circumstances and timing of the passing Saturday evening of Lake County Sheriff Chris Daniels, Sr. make it especially sad.

Sheriff Daniels, who was elected in the 2004 election, was participating in a school bus race against other sheriffs from across the state at New Smyrna Speedway as part of an event to benefit the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches. He apparantly lost control of the vehicle on lap 12 of the 15 lap event and was thrown from the bus. The sheriffs were all wearing seat belts and the buses were equipped with speed-controlling governors that limited their speed to 45-50 MPH.

Daniels was celebrating his 47th birthday Saturday, and had brought along his wife Michelle, to whom he had only married in July. In addition to his wife, he is survived by three children from a previous marriage and a stepdaughter.

Sheriff Grady Judd of neighboring Polk County said he was shocked to learn of Daniels' death. "He's wonderful, a consummate professional law-enforcement officer and an absolute gentleman," Judd said. "I'm just devastated by this, and I know the people of Lake County will be, too."

The Lake County Sheriff's Department, the people of Lake County, and the law enforcement community in general, will miss Sheriff Daniels. RIP.


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