A motorcycle police officer was killed Sunday in Florida while riding in the lead of President Barack Obama’s motorcade. Officer Bruce St. Laurent of the Jupiter, Florida, police department is the third presidential motorcade fatality since 2006. According to the investigating authorities, St. Laurent was hit on route I-95 by the driver of a Ford 150 pickup truck. The incident is being treated as a vehicular homicide. The President, who was on a campaign stop, expressed his “thoughts and prayers” for the officer's family.
Presidential motorcades can be a risky business. According to a source in the Metropolitan Police Department, which handles presidential-level motorcades in DC on a regular basis, there are many components to executing an escort convoy, and even with the “extensive training” involved, there are dangers. “It’s not just driving a motorcycle,” says the source.
In November of 2006, in Honolulu, Hawaii, Officer Steve Favela was killed while escorting President Bush’s motorcade at Hickam Air Force Base. He was one of three officers who crashed while taking a bend on a rain-slicked road.
In August of 2007, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Officer Germaine Casey was killed while accompanying President Bush’s entourage to the airport after a fundraiser at a point where the road entered an underground parking garage.
On that occasion, a spokesperson for the Albuquerque Police Department said, “Any time there is a presidential motorcade, the officers—that’s part of their job—they drive at a high rate of speed.”
Though it was not a presidential motorcade, in February of 2008, a motorcycle officer was killed in Dallas, Texas, while escorting presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton to a rally. Officer Victor Lozada crashed after rounding a curb. Saying she was “heartsick,” Clinton canceled a subsequent rally scheduled in Fort Worth. “I certainly am grateful for all they do for me, and more important, what they do for the citizens of cities like Dallas and others across our country,” Clinton told reporters after the incident.