Deputy killed in 4-county chase remembered

BROOKSVILLE — Tampa Bay-area law enforcement officers are mourning the death of a deputy who crashed while pursuing a reckless driver.

Hernando County Sheriff's Deputy John Mecklenburg died Sunday after a fiery crash. Mecklenburg was among the officers chasing Michael James Anthony from Brooksville south into Pinellas County, where he surrendered.

Lt. Harold Hutchinson says he encouraged Mecklenburg, his neighbor, to join the sheriff's office in 2009. Hutchinson says Mecklenburg often worked the overnight shift so he could spend his days with his two young children.

Anthony was held Monday in the Pinellas County jail on $20,000 bond on a charge of fleeing law enforcement and reckless driving and a probation violation. Court records show that Anthony is a convicted felon on probation. Jail records didn't show whether he had an attorney.

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