OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - Investigators say Osceola Deputy Gabriel Garcia was fired for going 130 miles per hour to a call when he wasn’t authorized. Now, he’s back on the job and talking to only FOX 35 about what happened.
"I did something wrong and I learned from it," he said.
Deputy Garcia said he was heading out to a call with lights and sirens nearly two years ago.
"At the end of the search warrant, it came to my understanding [that] it wasn’t a call out deemed for lights and sirens," Garcia said.
In his disciplinary report, it states Garcia went at speeds of 90 mph or higher on 17 different occasions when he wasn’t authorized.
A supervisor said his actions were "negligent and reckless."
Garcia was terminated from his job, but he later appealed and won. He says he was never given any type of warning.
"Speeding, realistically, it would have been a citation," he said.
Newly-elected Sheriff Marcos Lopez says Garcia was treated unfairly and convinced him to return.
FOX 35 asked the sheriff’s office how many deputies went more than 90 miles per hour.
- November 2020: 427
- December 2020: 587
- January 2021: 652
However, it’s not known if deputies were heading to emergencies and if the incidents were from the same deputies or different ones.
So, Sheriff Lopez put a new system in place to alert supervisors if deputies speed.
"If a deputy is going excessive 85-90 miles per hour, it will send an alert to the supervisor and they can make an inquiry and say, 'Hey, why was he speeding?" Sheriff Lopez said.
As for Deputy Garcia, he says he learned his lesson.
"Such an incident like that will never happen again. And the way I drive in the future, in response to a call, will always be in due care."
Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.