Officials are mourning the loss of two veteran Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) members who recently passed away following a COVID-19 diagnosis.
Their deaths come amid the all-time high death toll currently hitting the state. While there are signs cases are trending downward, hospitals remain overwhelmed due to weeks of surging COVID-19 spread.
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes and FHP Deputy Director Lieutenant Colonel Troy Thompson released a joint statement memorializing the two FHP members who recently passed away.
“The Florida Highway Patrol and FLHSMV family is deeply saddened and collectively heartbroken as we mourn the passing of FHP Trooper Sean Hryc and Compliance Investigator Ernie Brown,” the statement reads.
“Trooper Hryc and Investigator Brown were both valued members of the Florida Highway Patrol, selflessly serving and protecting the residents of Florida for more than 17 and 30 years, respectively. Please keep their families and team members in your thoughts and prayers.”
Both Brown and Hryc passed away Saturday, according to the release announcing their deaths. It’s unclear how long they had been sick with COVID-19.
Before Brown’s 30 years of service with FHP, he worked with the Bushnell Police Department and the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office. Most recently, Brown had served as a Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Compliance Investigator for Marion County. Hryc started at the Dade City Police Department before joining FHP.
Aside from those brief remarks and an acknowledgment of their passing, the release asked individuals to respect the privacy of the officers’ families following their loss.
Friday’s weekly report from the Department of Health showed 1,727 people died from Aug. 20-26. The last three weekly reports have shown an average of 200 deaths per day due to COVID-19.
The deaths of Brown and Hryc come just days after the virus claimed the lives of five South Florida law enforcement officers.