Former head of public defender group, top state government staffer Kristina Wiggins dies in crash

wiggins, kristina ART
Wiggins has two children, a daughter who is a freshman at the University of Florida and a high school-aged son.

Kristina Wiggins, 48, the former executive director of the Florida Public Defender Association and a former top staffer at numerous state agencies over the last 20 years, died Sunday evening in a one-vehicle crash in Tallahassee.

An incident report from the Florida Highway Patrol shows a 48 year-old woman died following a crash on Bannerman Road. At 8:27 p.m. the vehicle veered off the road “for unknown reasons” and hit a culvert and some trees before coming to a rest in a ditch on the shoulder of the road, the report states. No other cars were involved in the incident.

The report doesn’t identify the driver, but an FHP spokeswoman forwarded the incident report upon request from Florida Politics for information on the crash involving Wiggins on Bannerman Road. She was pronounced dead on the scene. According to the report, she was wearing a seatbelt.

Wiggins worked for the last two years at Tallahassee Community College as an operations director. She told LobbyTools in 2012 she started her career at the Florida Department of Education but moved her family to Ohio. A lifelong Floridian who did not enjoy the cold, Wiggins and her family returned to Florida and DOE.

She later worked in the Legislature, first in the House Committee on Domestic Security and Energy and then for three years in the Florida Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee.

In 2012, at 37, she was named deputy secretary at the Florida Department of Health and helped lead a reorganization of the agency after the passing of HB 1263 that year. Later, Wiggins served as Chief of Staff at the Agency for State Technology from 2014-2017 before leaving to take the helm at the FPDA. She left the public defenders group in 2020 before heading to TCC.

Wiggins has two children, a daughter who is a freshman at the University of Florida and a high school-aged son.

“We are all devastated,” said Andrew Wiggins, her ex-husband. “She was a devoted mother to Katherine and Gavin.”

Gray Rohrer


  • Michael Murtha

    December 19, 2022 at 9:03 pm

    Our hearts are broken for Katherine, Gavin, Andrew, those she loved, and her many, many friends during this terribly tragic time. Kristina was a vibrant, brilliant ray of sunshine; so many of us were gifted with her warm and persevering spirit. There are tears of pain and sadness throughout our community from the families at Holy Comforter, Leon High School, North Florida Christian, and among the Lion Volleyball team and alumni. I know that those who worked alongside her throughout her distinguished career are hurting, particularly those at TCC. Kristina was first, second, and always, a mother; every friend of Katherine and Gavin always knew that she would be as protective and loving as if they had been hers – our daughter was so blessed. Say a prayer for her family; I know that I will say many. Until we meet again, May God hold this Angel and her family in the hollow of his hand.

  • Alan W. Rateliff, II

    December 20, 2022 at 11:51 am

    I met Kristina through FDLE while she was at AST, and later worked for her when she headed FPDA. I very much enjoyed working with her and our discussions covering many topics. Her loss is untimely and my deepest sympathies go out to her family. I wish for them to find comfort and peace during their time of grieving.

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