“He absolutely was a human shield for us,” Woman says fallen deputy sacrificed his life to save hers

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TAMPA, Fla. – Sarah Geren says she owes her life to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputy John Kotfila, Jr.

Geren says she was driving home from work early Saturday morning when she saw a car heading straight for her.

Officials told WFLA that 31-year-old Erik McBeth was driving westbound in the eastbound lanes of the Leroy Selmon Expressway.

“I started to pull over to the side of the road, but that hadn’t even occurred all the way when the officer rushed around me. One or two seconds after he passed me, he hit the car, instead of me,” she said.

Tragically, Deputy John Robert Kotfila, Jr. died in the crash.

“This man put himself in front of us as a human shield. Absolutely, he definitely saw what was going on. When I take a step back and look at the way everything occurred, he absolutely was a human shield for us,” Geren said.

McBeth also died in the crash.

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