BSO identifies deputy killed in Deerfield Beach crash

Deputy Benjamin Nimtz, 30, hired by BSO last year

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor, Andrew Perez - Reporter

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. - A deputy hired by the Broward Sheriff's Office last year was killed in Sunday morning's Deerfield Beach crash.

Deputy Benjamin Nimtz, 30, was identified Monday as the victim who died in the early-morning collision at Military Trail and Southwest 10th Street.

BSO spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright said Nimtz's cruiser collided with a Toyota Tundra pickup truck at the intersection. She said he was on his way to a domestic dispute at the time of the crash.

Both drivers were taken to Broward Health North, where Nimtz was pronounced dead.

The 32-year-old driver of the pickup truck was identified as Darren Johnson. His injuries are not life-threatening.

Traffic homicide detectives said a preliminary investigation reveals that Johnson was speeding, and his excessive speed was a contributing factor to the crash.

Investigators are awaiting the results of Johnson's toxicology test.

"Right now, everything is under investigation," Coleman-Wright said. 

Records show Johnson has a lengthy history of driving infractions, from driving with a suspended license to running lights, in nearly every county in South Florida. Still, it's unclear whether he was fully responsible for Sunday's crash.

Coleman-Wright said Nimtz had been hired by the BSO in March 2018.

According to a GoFundMe page, Nimtz was a husband and father of two. The page has been created to help the family with funeral expenses.

Jeff Bell, president of the Broward Sheriff's Office Deputies Association, said Nimtz, who was a U.S. Army veteran, only had three shifts left with the agency as he was moving back to Indiana. He was originally from Wisconsin.

Bell said Nimtz's wife and two children, ages 18 months and 3 years, had already moved back to Indiana to settle into their new home.

Nimtz had been living in West Palm Beach in the meantime.

Bell said Nimtz's wife was traveling to South Florida.

Union members will present a check to Nimtz's family -- money that will be pulled from all of their next paychecks -- to help them during this difficult time, Bell said.

"As you can imagine, this is a devastating time for all of us," Coleman-Wright said.

Sgt. Tom Weger, public information officer and recruitment officer for the Fishers Police Department in Indiana, told Local 10 News that he recently spoke to Nimtz over the phone.

"The last thing I said to him was, 'Be careful and I'll see you soon,'" Weger said.

Weger said Nimtz was a "highly qualified" law enforcement officer and the agency was "excited about the potential to have him as part of our family."

Fishers is a fast growing suburb of Indianapolis with a population of about 90,000.

Nimtz would have joined a department of 111 other officers.

Anyone who witnessed Sunday's crash is asked to call BSO traffic homicide Detective Carlos De Jesus at 954-321-4842.

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