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Florida Motorcycle Deputy Killed in Crash

A Seminole County deputy sheriff was killed in the line of duty Monday afternoon when his motorcycle collided with a Volkswagen Jetta at the intersection of Maitland Boulevard and Gateway Drive, authorities said.

The impact caused the Jetta to flip over.

Deputy Matt Miller, 53, had worked at the Sheriff's Office for 24 years, a somber Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger said at a news conference outside the emergency room of Orlando Regional Medical Center.

The sheriff escorted the deputy's widow, Laura Miller, from the hospital before addressing reporters.

Eslinger said the motorcycle deputy was "trying to catch up to a speeder" headed west on Maitland Boulevard about 1:15 p.m. when the crash occurred. Eslinger said Miller had activated his lights and siren, but was not in a high-speed pursuit.

The driver of the Jetta, identified as Abel Romero Linfernal, 28, of Altamonte Springs, also was transported to ORMC where he was listed last night in critical condition, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Troopers investigating the fatal crash said Linfernal was headed east when he turned left at Gateway Drive and into the motorcycle's path. According to a preliminary FHP report, the Jetta violated the deputy's right-of-way.

"Matt was a consummate professional. Very highly skilled. Loved working traffic, loved working at the Sheriff's Office," Eslinger said. "He touched a lot of lives in the Sheriff's Office as well as the entire community...It's all one family at the Seminole County Sheriff's Office. It's not only a loss of a great deputy sheriff, but a family member for all of us."

Miller worked at the Longwood Police Department for three years before joining the Sheriff's Office.

Susan Jacobson of the Sentinel staff contributed to this report.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service