TAMPA — Mark Longway's name was etched into a memorial for fallen sheriff's deputies Friday morning, three days after he was killed in a crash with a semitrailer.
Longway's oldest daughter, her mother and sister at her side, thanked the community for the support they received in the wake of his death.
Brandi Trzaska choked back tears as she spoke of her father during the solemn gathering at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Operations Center in Ybor City.
"He is a hero to us all and he will be sorely missed,'' Trzaska said. "Those of you who know our family know what an amazing friend, brother, husband, father, uncle, father-in-law, grandfather, friend, soldier and deputy sheriff he was to all of us.''
Members of the sheriff's honor guard pulled back a black sheet to reveal Longway's name on the memorial. After serving six years with the Sheriff's Office, his was the 15th name added to the stone monument.
Family members took turns stenciling the name from the stone onto pieces of paper. Among them were his wife, Laura, his younger daughter Sherri Longway, and his parents, Gene and Connie Longway.
Trzaska's husband, Joshua, wore his father-in-law's badge from a chain around his neck as he escorted the deputy's grandchildren to the monument.
Longway, 48, was on his way home before dawn Tuesday when his cruiser collided with a semitrailer truck at N Florida Avenue and Scott Street. He had just finished the night shift at the Port of Tampa.
The deputy was still considered to be on-duty even though he was on his way home, sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said.
"If he's in uniform and he's logged in and still expected to respond to calls, it's considered to be in the line of duty," she said.
Investigators have said it was apparent that either Longway or the driver of the semitrailer ran a red light.
The truck driver, Lamont Ashley, 39, of Davenport told investigators he had a green light. Authorities have 90 days to complete the investigation, Carter said.
They are looking for video or witnesses to help determine which driver was at fault.
"That's the key. We need an independent witness who has no opinion," said Deputy Larry McKinnon.
"It's just like any other accident where we try to determine what happened. But science can only go so far."
A funeral service for Longway will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Idlewild Baptist Church on N Dale Mabry Highway in Lutz. A visitation will be held beforehand at 9:30 a.m.
Dan Sullivan can be reached at (813) 226-3321 or email@example.com.