|Birth: ||Jan., 1960|
|Death: ||Jul. 31, 2003|
CRASH KILLS CITRUS INDUSTRY OFFICIAL
By Associated Press
Published August 2, 2003
ARCADIA - The chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission was killed when two people trying to outrun sheriff's deputies crashed a stolen Jeep into his sport-utility vehicle and it erupted in flames.
Walter Brewer was trapped in the burning vehicle and died late Thursday before he could be removed by firefighters. He was 43.
Brewer's sons, James Cole Brewer, 13, and John Dylan Brewer, 10, escaped the vehicle. They were treated and released from De Soto Memorial Hospital.
The stolen Jeep's driver also was killed when thrown from the vehicle. She was not immediately identified. Her passenger, Frank John Morse Jr., 23, of Port Charlotte, was flown to Tampa General Hospital and was listed in critical condition Friday.
Authorities said Morse broke into his mother's Port Charlotte home and stole two handguns before snatching a woman's purse at a Charlotte County grocery store. Morse's father, who owned the Jeep, notified the Sheriff's Office.
The Jeep then led deputies on a chase into De Soto County on State Road 72 that reached 115 mph, Charlotte sheriff's spokesman Bob Carpenter said.
De Soto deputies laid spikes on the road to try to slow the Jeep, Carpenter said. It ran over them and traveled another half-mile before crashing head-on into Brewer's vehicle in Arcadia, about 60 miles southeast of Tampa. Both vehicles burst into flames.
Brewer had just been re-elected by other Citrus Commission members to his second one-year term as chairman. The body oversees the Florida Department of Citrus and its $65-million budget and regulates Florida's $9-billion citrus industry. Brewer was a third-generation citrus grower.
"Walter Brewer was a trusted and dedicated servant to Florida," Gov. Jeb Bush said. "His tragic passing is a shock to all who knew him personally or by reputation."
Bob Crawford, executive director of the Department of Citrus, who was in Japan on Friday promoting Florida grapefruit, said in a statement: "Walt was loved and respected by so many ... our hearts go out to his grieving family and to his many friends."
A law graduate of the University of Florida, Brewer was an attorney in Polk County before returning to his family's citrus business in De Soto County. Bush named him to the commission in 1999.
Specifically: Burial Info Unknown
Created by: Vera Mikell Sodek
Record added: Jan 17, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 24008338