BSO deputy dies after Deerfield Beach crash; community pays tribute

DEERFIELD BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - The Broward Sheriff’s Office confirmed one of their deputies has died following a fatal crash in Deerfield Beach.

BSO officials said 30-year-old Deputy Benjamin Nimtz’s marked patrol car collided with a white pickup truck at the intersection of Military Trail and Southwest 10th Street, near Century Village, just after 3 a.m., Sunday.

The driver of the pickup truck was later identified as 32-year-old Darran Johnson and is expected to be OK.

“The deputy was en route to a call. It was a domestic violence call,” said BSO spokesperson Veda Coleman-Wright.

7News cameras captured the cruiser and pickup truck at the scene with extensive damage.

“The deputy was trapped,” said Coleman-Wright.

Another deputy who was also on his way to the domestic violence call radioed for help immediately after impact.

“The deputy is trapped in the vehicle — no breathing, no pulse,” he told a dispatcher.

Both the deputy and the driver of the pickup truck were transported to Broward Health North in Pompano Beach, where the deputy succumbed to his injuries.

“Unfortunately, the deputy did die from the injuries he sustained from the crash,” said Coleman-Wright. “The pickup truck driver, I’m told, he suffered non-life-threatening injuries. He has been stabilized. He’s at the hospital.”

7News has learned that since 2006, Johnson has received 18 traffic citations, including speeding and failure to stop at a light. Court records showed he was also driving on a suspended license. Records also showed Johnson was arrested in 2010 on a felony battery charge.

Nimtz was a U.S. Army veteran, and according to Jeff Bell, the President of the BSO Deputies Association, he was three shifts away from moving to Indiana with his family.

In a video from when he was a member of the army, Nimtz said to this family, “Love you guys. Miss you. I think about you guys all the time. I’ll see you guys soon.”

On Monday, Nimtz’s family arrived at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Dozens of deputies escorted the family from the airport.

“We never want to hear the news one of our coworkers has died in the line of duty, especially in a traffic crash like this,” Bell said.

A photo released by BSO shows fellow first responders carrying the deputy’s body out of the hospital in a casket draped with the U.S. flag.

Authorities shut down the roads around Broward Health North as a procession led by BSO deputies on motorcycles escorted the Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue vehicle carrying the body to the medical examiner’s office.

7News cameras captured a long line of BSO cruisers following the vehicle.

“This is a very devastating time for the deputy’s family as well as the BSO family,” said Coleman-Wright.

South Florida law enforcement agencies shared their condolences on social media.

Hours later, cameras captured a crosswalk pole completely uprooted out of the ground and thrown about 15 feet near the entrance to The Lakes at Deerfield community, where the crash took place.

“We just ask that the public be patient. Pray for us during this time,” said Coleman-Wright. “We’ve lost one of our own. He’s only been with us a short time — about a year and four months. It’s quite hard to deal with.”

Area residents stopped by the scene of the crash to pay their respects and offer condolences.

“It’s sad. It’s, like, mind-boggling. I can’t even express what I feel,” said Deerfield Beach resident Michael McAllister.

“Every time I see these deaths, it just tears my heart apart,” said Kevin Bolling, a retired deputy.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Officials said Johnson appeared to be speeding at the time of the crash, and they are waiting for the results of the toxicology report. He is expected to survive.

Officials have urged anyone who was in the area of the crash or have any information about the incident to call BSO Traffic Homicide Detective Carlos De Jesus at 954-321-4842.

“The investigators, they want to make sure that they thoroughly document what occurred,” said Coleman-Wright.

7News cameras captured a memorial filled with flowers at the scene of the crash.

BSO will be assisting the family through the Sheriff’s Foundation of Broward County with The Fallen Heroes Fund.

Donations can be made to the foundation here.

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