By Dan Scanlan
The Florida Times-Union
PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. — A 44-year-old Putnam County corrections officer died in a pre-dawn motorcycle crash on U.S. 17 in San Mateo, according to the Florida Highway Patrol and Sheriff’s Office.
Mark Elam was riding his Harley-Davidson north at North Boundary Road about 5:30 a.m. when he was hit by a van driven by a 39-year-old woman, the Highway Patrol said. She had stopped at North Boundary Road, then tried to cross U.S. 17 when the collision occurred.
Elam was on his way to work. Sheriff H.D. “Gator” DeLoach posthumously promoted him to captain after being notified, saying the 18-year veteran left an “indelible impression on everyone he met.”
“He was firm and never minced words, but he was fair,” DeLoach said. “His work ethic and dedication to the Sheriff’s Office is unparalleled and served as an example to his subordinates and peers alike.”
Maj. Scott Surrency, the jail’s director, said Elam was a larger-than-life influence among corrections deputies.
“He had an ability to reach people,” Surrency said. “He served as an inspector on Florida model jail standards and knew policies and standards with an almost photographic memory.”
Prior to his service with the Sheriff’s Office, Elam served four years in the U. S. Marine Corps.
Elam is survived by his wife and two sons, and the couple was in the process of adopting a group of five siblings, the Sheriff’s Office said.
(c)2021 The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.)