An off-duty Pinellas County sheriff's deputy was killed Friday afternoon when his motorcycle collided with a car in Pasco County, authorities said.
Jason Shoulta, 43, had worked at the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office for 13 years. He was a patrol officer but also had served as a court bailiff and a SWAT team member.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Jason's family and friends," Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said in a message to employees Friday. "There is no sense that can be made of such a tragedy and no words that can make this easier on anyone."
Shoulta was southbound on County Road 77 on his 2010 Harley Davidson Street Glider at about 12:15 p.m. when a car northbound on the same road turned left into a 7-Eleven gas station at the intersection at Perrine Ranch Road, officials said. The deputy tried to avoid hitting the car but struck the right rear of driver Taylor Anne Vanderbilt's vehicle. It was unclear if Vanderbilt sustained any injuries.
Shoulta was taken to Bayonet Point Hospital, where he was pronounced dead about an hour later.
An investigation was ongoing.
Shoulta most recently worked the evening shift as a patrol deputy.
He was never afraid to confront any situation and believed in working with other deputies as a team, said sheriff's Capt. Teri Dioquino, who knew Shoulta since his earliest days as a deputy.
He leaves behind a fiancee and children, who are receiving support from the Sheriff's Office.
"One thing I can say about Jason is he had like a permanent smile. His eyes smiled," Dioquino said. "His whole career he was always very professional. He had a great presence around him.
"He is somebody we will miss," she said.