Walton County Sheriff May Consider New Beach Patrol Policies

By: Drew Steele Email
By: Drew Steele Email

Tuesday afternoon twenty-one year-old Jessica Nystrom was accidentally run over by a sheriff's deputy after he was finished issuing underage drinking citations to others on Miramar beach.

"As he went to pull off from there he didn't see anybody when he first sat in. In this case the victim and her friend were actually laying down on the san. Gets in the car goes to pull up a few feet. Realizes he's bumped into something. Nobody says anything. Not sure what's going on. He stops gets out to see what's going on and that's where he encountered the victim" said Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson.

Nystrom was taken to Sacred Heart Hospital with injuries to her shoulder and back but has since been released.
Calls to her family went unanswered.
Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson says Deputy Biernakci has been shaken by the incident.

"He's actually very emotionally rattled as you can imagine that's the last thing somebody who swears to protect and serve people hopes to do is actually cause an injury. Certainly he's very troubled by it and we're working with him on that" said Adkinson.

The sheriff's office is taking full responsibility for the incident. Deputy Biernacki will face disciplinary actions and appear in front of an accident review board. Sheriff Adkinson says this may be an eye opener for new beach patrol policies.

"Certainly what happens in any of these kinds of cases you want to go back and see what you learned from them. What you can do better? Where are there failures in the way we conduct business. One of the things that have immediately come to our minds is for beach officers maybe we need to make a policy where every time before they get in the vehicle they get out and walk around the vehicle" said Adkinson.

The sheriff's department has smaller vehicles that patrol beaches but relies on trucks as well for lifesaving equipment purposes.
Sheriff Adkinson says Deputy Biernacki has not been placed on leave at this time.


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