PALMETTO (FOX 13) - Messages of love written on a wooden cross are for 20-year-old Alexandria Marler, whom everyone called 'Ally.' They are a painful reminder of what happened along U.S. 41 in Palmetto.
"He should have never gotten behind the wheel," said Trooper Ken Watson.
But Timothy Vaughan, an off-duty Pinellas County sheriff's deputy, did. Troopers said he was driving drunk Friday night in Palmetto when he swerved out of his lane and into the path of Ally and her friends.
They were riding motorcycles when he hit Ally's. She fell off; investigators say he ran over and killed her.
"Unfortunately things like this happen every day, but we certainly don't expect it from someone who wears a badge for a living," said Trooper Watson.
Watson said Vaughan stayed at the scene and cooperated. He was arrested for DUI and DUI manslaughter.
"When you put a badge on every day for a living, that does not allow you to be above the law. If anything, you must live your life beyond reproach," he said.
After learning of the crash, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri immediately fired the veteran deputy.
"He has made DUI arrests and probably investigated DUI crashes so knows the consequences. He was with us seven or eight years. He knows the consequences, he's seen some things that are consequences, ramifications of people who drive drunk, drive impaired. For whatever reason, it didn't resonate with him," said Gualtieri.
Ally's friends and family are in shock. They said she lived life to the fullest, riding horses in the rodeo and showing off her gymnastic skills on her YouTube page.
She also leaves behind a 2-year-old daughter.
"Unfortunately, he made a very, very poor decision," Gualtieri added. "Cost someone their life. And he should go to prison."