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Former deputy faces DUI manslaughter charges in Courtney Campbell Causeway crash

Investigators say Joshua Roelofs was driving about 100 mph when he rear-ended a Kia and it flipped — killing two and seriously injuring two others.
Joshua Roelofs, 33, of Mulberry, is facing felony charges in connection to a crash that killed two on the Courtney Campbell Causeway last month, according to the Tampa Police Department.
Joshua Roelofs, 33, of Mulberry, is facing felony charges in connection to a crash that killed two on the Courtney Campbell Causeway last month, according to the Tampa Police Department. [ Photo provided / Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]
Published May 10|Updated May 10

A former Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputy is facing felony charges in connection to a crash that killed two people on the Courtney Campbell Causeway last month, according to the Tampa Police Department.

Joshua Roelofs, 33, of Mulberry, was arrested over the weekend, the agency said in a news release Monday night.

Investigators say he was going about 100 mph when his 2017 Nissan GT-R rear-ended a 2005 Kia Sorrento about 3:42 a.m. on April 13. The Kia flipped several times and the four occupants were ejected; two 44-year-old men died at the scene, and two others — a 36-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman — were taken to an area hospital with serious injuries.

The roadway was closed in both directions for several hours during the morning commute.

Authorities did not release the names of any of the people in the Kia. An arrest affidavit for Roelofs said one surviving victim remained unconscious at the hospital and intubated this weekend, having undergone six surgeries to mitigate injuries to their skull and brain. The other surviving victim was hospitalized for more than two weeks with injuries to their tibia and fibula. They still require outpatient care, the affidavit said.

Roelofs, who was not injured in the crash, stayed at the scene. Video of the crash was captured by a dash camera in his Nissan, the affidavit said, and it captured Roelofs failing to maintain his lane, weaving and straddling the middle lane before slamming into the back of the Kia.

A responding officer wrote in the affidavit that Roelofs had bloodshot, watery eyes immediately after the crash. He also had “thick tongued speech” and the smell of alcohol on his breath, the officer wrote.

The affidavit says Roelofs refused to participate in field sobriety tests. Once a search warrant was obtained, a blood draw revealed Roelofs had a blood-alcohol level of .069 approximately five hours after the crash.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Roelofs was a deputy with the agency for five years. A spokesperson said he was arrested and fired in 2015 after he was caught repeatedly filing inaccurate timecards to receive extra pay.

Roelofs was booked into the Hillsborough County jail Saturday, and he was released on $19,000 bail later that day, jail records show. He faces two felony counts of DUI manslaughter and two felony counts of DUI causing serious bodily injury.

An arrest affidavit says Roelofs is married, self-employed and a native of Michigan. He has no previous DUI charges on record.

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