Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

In Hernando, people line road for Deputy Mecklenburg's funeral procession

SPRING HILL — Paul Warren stood in the rain next to two fire trucks hoisting an American flag high above the intersection of Spring Hill Drive and Barclay Avenue.

"Just paying my respects to a hero," he said, needing no other reason to brave the wind and rain on a melancholy Friday.

He and dozens of others waited, soaked and hushed, for the funeral procession for Deputy John Mecklenburg to arrive.

The crowds braved the inclement weather to line the streets between St. Frances Cabrini Church on Mariner Boulevard and Florida Hills Memorial Park to bid farewell to the deputy who died Sunday when his car hit a tree during a high-speed chase.

James Bransfield, standing in soaked jean shorts and a red polo, held an American flag and smoked Marlboro cigarettes to stay warm. Having just moved to Spring Hill from Maine a week ago, he read about the deputy's death in Monday's newspaper.

The Army veteran and former firefighter had heard Mecklenburg was a good man, and he wanted to show his support.

"I'm sure," Bransfield said, "he would have done the same for me."

At the cemetery, bagpipe players practiced their notes as deputies who had arrived in advance of the procession stood about with an air of somber anticipation. A riderless horse waited calmly for its deployment.

A gaggle of Hernando County Explorers helped park cars, grabbing hats to shield themselves from the rain. Deputy Jason Deso, their adviser, crossed his arms as he supervised the young men and women.

Raindrops clung to his eyebrows like the pall of the day's occasion as he glanced at the burial site. He noted the number of funerals recently for fallen officers in the Tampa Bay area.

"We've had too many of these recently," he said.

Nearby, the sodden American flag flapped wetly in the wind. Shortly before the procession reached the intersection, a wind gust snagged the flag on a ladder.

A firefighter clambered up the ladder to untangle it, and the crowd responded with a hearty cheer.

Staff photojournalist Will Vragovic contributed to this report. Melvin Backman can be reached at mbackman@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6114.

In Hernando, people line road for Deputy Mecklenburg's funeral procession 07/08/11 [Last modified: Friday, July 8, 2011 8:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Car bomb kills 13, injures 24 in Baghdad; Islamic State claims responsibility

    World

    BAGHDAD — A car bomb exploded outside a popular ice cream shop in central Baghdad just after midnight today, killing 13 people and wounding 24, hospital and police officials said.

  2. Leaping shark floors angler in Australia

    World

    In The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway's protagonist battles for three days to pull in his prized catch. For Terry Selwood, it came a little more suddenly.

    A 9-foot shark lies on the deck of a fishing boat at Evans Head, Australia on Sunday. Fisherman Terry Selwood said he was left with a badly bruised and bleeding right arm where the shark struck him with a fin as it landed on him on the deck. [Lance Fountain via AP]
  3. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  4. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber

    World

    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  5. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant

    Nation

    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]