Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough sheriff's deputy killed in red light wreck laid to rest

TAMPA — To his young grandson, Hillsborough sheriff's Deputy Mark Longway was known as "Grandpa Cop" — a variation of a nickname he had for decades.

As a senior at Hillsborough High School in 1980, the teenage Longway so obviously wanted to work in law enforcement that he was known as "Officer Longway," said Idlewild Baptist Church pastor Brian McDougall, a former classmate.

"He was a young man who knew who he was, knew who he was called to be," McDougall said.

On Monday, nearly 1,000 people gathered at Idlewild for the funeral of Longway, 48, who died last week after his sheriff's cruiser collided with a semitrailer truck in downtown Tampa. He was on his way home from work. The Sheriff's Office says it's still unclear which driver ran the red light.

At the service, the crash was never mentioned. Instead, friends and family told stories about a man who took public service seriously but always kept people laughing.

Before the service started, it was apparent that Longway was an active man who prioritized his family and his service, both in the Air Force, and, during the last six years, as a sheriff's deputy.

As hundreds streamed past his flag-draped casket, pictures of Longway flashed on giant screens inside the sanctuary:

Longway skydiving, skiing with friends, kissing his wife at their wedding, holding his grandchildren, drinking beers with friends and posing in uniform.

Rick Hernandez, his roommate from his military days in Italy, stood behind the lectern and said he'll never forget how Longway immediately fell for a local Italian girl.

Longway wore out the pages of an English-Italian dictionary as he tried to get to know the woman who would soon be his wife.

"Mark taught me the meaning of love at first sight," Hernandez said.

Laura Longway didn't speak at the funeral, but she stood next to her daughters as the eldest shared memories of a father who would drop anything for his family.

He gave up KISS tickets when his younger daughter went into labor last year, and in August, he drove to Texas to celebrate his grandson's birthday.

"He wanted Grandpa Cop there," Longway's daughter, Brandi Trzaska said. "And he showed up, just like he promised."

Another friend, Deputy Alan Grinaldi, shared a story about how one time on the midnight patrol shift, Longway declared that they were going to go on a "quest to find the perfect Slurpee." So they went to all the 7-Eleven stores in their zone, Grinaldi said.

The crowd laughed as Grinaldi shared the story, but then he explained Longway's goal: making sure his co-workers were alert during the slow predawn hours.

"He always took it upon himself to look after us," Grinaldi said.

After the service, law enforcement lined up outside. A riderless horse stood by as the honor guard marched the casket out and carefully folded the American flag.

Amazing Grace played on the bagpipes as the hearse drove away, and Laura Longway was left clutching her husband's flag.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.

Hillsborough sheriff's deputy killed in red light wreck laid to rest 09/27/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 8:23am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. College basketball scandal dips into Tampa Bay


    Tuesday's national college basketball scandal has recruiting ties to Tampa Bay.

    In this March 15, 2012, file photo, San Diego State assistant coach Tony Bland, left, talks during NCAA college basketball practice in Columbus, Ohio. Bland was identified in court papers, and is among 10 people facing federal charges in Manhattan federal court, Tuesday in a wide probe of fraud and corruption in the NCAA, authorities said. [AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File]
  2. Datz to open in St. Petersburg, join the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art

    Food & Dining

    Now Datz news.

    Get it? Tuesday, Datz, the longtime line-out-the-door, oft-Instagrammed and -Yelped Tampa stalwart known for shock-and-awe sandwiches and oh-so-much bacon, announced it is coming to St. Petersburg.

    Lunch guest eat at Datz Deli at 2616 South MacDill Ave. in Tampa. Times files.
  3. Republican leader McConnell pulls the plug on latest Obamacare repeal effort

    WASHINGTON --- Sen. Mitch McConnell on Tuesday officially pulled the plug on the latest plan to repeal the health care law, telling senators they will not vote on the measure and effectively admitting defeat in the last-gasp drive to fulfill a core promise of President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, after the Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as education secretary. DeVos was approved by the narrowest of margins, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie in a historic vote. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) DCSA119
  4. Lightning's Brayden Point could be perfect fit alongside Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE — Brayden Point ended last season as the Lightning's No. 1 center, thrust into the role as a rookie due to injuries.

    Lightning center Brayden Point (21) advances the puck through the neutral zone during Friday's preseason game against the Nashville Predators. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  5. For starters: Rays at Yankees, with Blake Snell starting, Wilson Ramos cashing in


    The Rays open their final road series of the season tonight at Yankee Stadium, which is also where they played their first of the season.

    LHP Blake Snell will be on the mound for the Rays, looking to continue his successful late-season run, in which he is 4-0, 2,57 over his last eight starts.

    Tonight marks Wilson Ramos' 55th start of the season.