Outpouring of support for Polk deputy severely injured by hit-and-run driver

Polk County Sheriff's Office Deputy Adam Pennell
Polk County Sheriff's Office Deputy Adam Pennell

POLK COUNTY — It’s been a rough couple of weeks for a Polk County Deputy, injured by a hit-and-run driver on Oct. 29.

Deputy Adam Pennell, 25, was helping a woman on the median of State Road 60, after she had crashed on the shoulder. Pennell was hit and the woman he stopped to help, Jessica Enchautegui-Otero, 33, of Tampa, was killed by the hit-and-run driver.

Several days after the crash, 71-year-old Charles Lewis of Lake Wales was arrested and charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash involving death and involving injury.

A GoFundMe account has been set up for Deputy Pennell, who is still recovering from a broken pelvis, shattered hip, broken ribs, bruised lungs and a shoulder injury.

“He was in a medically induced coma and he was in a roto-chrome bed which rotated him so that it would help him breathe a bit easier,” Family friend Kristi Costine said Friday. “He’s since been removed from that and taken off the ventilator. As of yesterday, he was moved to a regular room.”

Deputy Pennell is also starting to talk for the first time since the horrible crash. “He’s still pretty groggy. The medication is pretty strong and heavy-duty, so they said it is going to take up to seven days for it to really kind of wear off, and for him to feel a little bit better.

Deputy Pennell is expected to go through a long rehab process. Costine started the GoFundMe Page to help with medical expenses, and his wife, who is also a deputy, Kristin Pennell.

“We’re not quite sure yet how long the recovery process is going to take, but we’re estimating a few months. They’re going to need a lot of assistance for that. Kristin is not currently being paid. She is on a leave of absence. So she does not have her income and that obviously creates a strain on them,” Costine said.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is also accepting donations in Adam Pennell’s name through “Polk Sheriff Charities”

There are also several upcoming fundraisers.

 

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