At the same time, a fifteen-year-old boy was leaving his house on Parkland Drive riding a motor scooter. He headed east on Hamptom Road toward Parker Avenue. He got to Parker just when the center of the procession was passing. Apparently a gap had formed in the line of cars. Witnesses weren’t sure if the boy stopped at the stop sign or not, but he pulled out through the gap just as Officer Tatum reached the intersection.
Officer Tatum’s motorcycle and the motor scooter collided in the middle of the intersection. Neither rider had time to avoid the accident. The teenager was thrown from the motor scooter on impact, suffering severe injuries. Officer Tatum traveled off the southeast corner of the intersection and struck a tree. Upon impact with the tree, he was thrown from the motorcycle.
Ambulances were called immediately and both victims were transported to Good Samaritan Hospital. Officer F. A. “Al” Tatum, age 35, was pronounced dead on arrival from massive head injuries. Helmets weren’t required or used then. Had they been, there may have been a different outcome.
Officer Tatum is survived by his son, Mark A. Tatum. Officer Tatum was a four-year veteran of the West Palm Beach Police Department.