Sister of Hillsborough deputy killed in wrong-way crash becomes deputy

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The sister of a Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputy who lost his life in the line of duty followed in his footsteps on Wednesday. Deputy John Kotfila Jr.’s younger sister became a Hillsborough County deputy herself.

Katelyn Kotfila calls her new deputy badge, a badge of honor. 

“Anytime I see anything with HCSO I think of him and I am reminded that I am here and he is not,” she said. “But in the process, if I could save just one family from the pain and suffering that I went through, it would be worth it.”

More than a year has gone by since her older brother, Deputy John Kotfila Jr. was killed in the line of duty by a wrong-way driver. He was just 30 years old and had so much ahead of him.

“He would just be really proud of me and be happy, I just wish he could be here with me,” his sister Katelyn said.

And so do the Kotfila’s parents. But her brother’s absence is what prompted Katelyn to make a life change.

“He accomplished so much, that is what she wanted to do, she was questioning her life at that point, how am I affecting people? I am not affecting people like my brother did and he was a role model to her and she said she was going to carry on his footsteps,” her father John Kotfila Sr. said.

Katelyn will work in District Three on the west side of the county. While she wishes it was alongside her brother, she knows he’ll be in the patrol car with her.

“Anything I see, anything with Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office related, I think of him so I think of him daily,” she said. 

Daily, that’s how often Katelyn’s parents say her big brother will have eyes on her.

“I know he will. He always did. Even when she was younger he always did. He is here, I feel him but it’s her time. And he would be so proud today,” said their parents.

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