POLK COUNTY, Fla. — A portion of Interstate 4 between State Road 33 and the Polk Parkway was renamed after Florida Highway Patrol Trooper John C. Hagerty. 

Trooper Hagerty was a member of the Florida Highway Patrol. He worked for the Highway Patrol for 13 years prior to his death, serving citizens near Frostproof, Punta Gorda, Stuart, and Orlando. 

On March 18, 1970, while flying one of the Highway Patrol's aircraft over Interstate 4 for a traffic operation near Lakeland, Trooper Hagerty, 44, was struck by a low-flying military aircraft and suffered fatal injuries. 

"Paying tribute to Trooper Hagerty by renaming a portion of Interstate 4 in his honor is a great tribute," said Col. Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. "Trooper Hagerty was dedicated to serving the residents and visitors of this state as a Florida Highway Patrol Trooper, and the ultimate sacrifice he paid is well deserving of this recognition."

Trooper Hagerty was the 10th state trooper to die in the line of duty, according to Spaulding. Since the agency was founded in 1939, a total of 48 have died in the line of duty, Spaulding said.

The legislature recently passed a bill to rename portions of the roadways to the remaining fallen troopers who haven't already been recognized. ​