POINCIANA, FL. (CNN / WFTS / WFLA) – A teenager’s life was cut short, all because a former cop plowed through a group of students while allegedly under the influence of alcohol.
Dozens turned out Friday night to honor 13-year-old Jahiem Robertson. Neighbors, friends and parents gathered, unified by tragedy, mourning the loss of a young life.
Wanda Gonzalez, a neighbor, said, “We just pray for God to take that spirit and bring it to heaven.”
Brenda Mcneal, a family friend, said, “To go to school with your classmates and the next thing you know, they’re just taken away, just run over like that.”
Deputies say 48-year-old John Camfield decided to get behind the wheel while drunk Thursday night. They say he kept driving, even after hitting 5 Dundee Ridge Middle School students who were walking home from the bus stop.
Hassan Volcy, Robertson’s middle school friend, said, “I remember [Jahiem] as a good classmate. And he was a good person. He’s in a better place now.”
Jahiem’s sister, Jasmine, survived. As the memorial grows, so does the support for Jahiem’s family.
Aneliese Mcneal, a family friend, said, “If she feels like she’s lost someone important, she has, but there’s always going to be people to support her.”
“John Camfield is a man who’s an absolute, total drunk,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a morning news conference.
Judge Robert Griffin set Camfield’s bond at $600,000. Camfield remains at the Polk County Jail in Frostproof.
Camfield currently lives in Davenport. He has spent a good part of the last 20 years in Mississippi, where he was a police officer with the Ercu, Horn Lake, Hernando and Oxford police departments. He also served as a deputy at sheriff’s offices in in Pontotoc, Tunica and Yalobusha counties.
“I talked to one of the sheriffs he worked with, the sheriff said ‘he was one of the very best detectives we ever had, but he had a problem, alcohol, the bottle,’” stated Sheriff Judd.
According to Sheriff Judd, Camfield worked for 10 law enforcement agencies from 1994 to 2012.
“He was more interested in himself and his drinking and alcohol that he was in his job, his employer,” added Sheriff Judd.
Camfield’s fondness for the bottle caught up with him in 2013. Arrest records show he was nabbed for driving under the influence and on a suspended license. He was also arrested for public drunkenness.
“He doesn’t care about anyone but John Camfield,” said Sheriff Judd. “He didn’t care about the children he ran over, he didn’t care about the pregnant woman whose vehicle he ran into.”
As he was being processed in the jail, Sheriff Judd said Camfield critiqued and complimented deputies, making light of the situation.
He told investigators he plans to be married in August. “If I was his fiance, I would cancel that date, he’s not going to be around,” Sheriff Judd stated.
John Camfield is also listed as an officer of the Association of Mississippi Certified Investigators, Inc. Mississippi is a state that does not require investigators receive certification.
Camfield told Judge Griffin he did not have any money saved, so taxpayers will get stuck paying for his defense.
Copyright 2017 CNN, WFTS. Additional information copyright 2017 WFLA.