EUSTIS – Retired Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy Mornas Colston, Jr., 49, whose job included riding motorcycles, died Saturday in a bike accident.

Eustis Police got the call at 9:11 p.m. Saturday that Colston, who was coming from Leesburg, missed the turn from State Road 44 onto Hicks Ditch Road, according to Jim Franquiz, public information officer.

He was taken to Florida Hospital Waterman Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was not wearing a helmet. The crash is under investigation.

Colston was a rarity. He liked to laugh and crack jokes, but he was the consummate professional, friends and family said.

“When he walked into the room you knew it,” said his wife, Denise.

Friends called him “Hammer” because his initials are M.C., like the famous singer, M.C. Hammer.

“I was real proud of Mornas,” said Anthony Robinson, former assistant chief of police in Eustis. Robinson, Mornas and Eustis Sgt. Wayne Perry all grew up in Eustis and enjoyed distinguished careers in law enforcement. Robinson is now a court deputy in Orange County.

He stayed in the neighborhood, Robinson said “That’s the kind of guy he was.”

“It was difficult for African Americans,” said Robinson, who started his career a few years earlier than Colston. “It’s difficult even now.” African Americans sometimes get flack from the black community and extra scrutiny from whites and fellow officers, Robinson said, but he was always respectful to everyone.

“He was as anti-racial as anyone could be,” said retired sheriff’s investigator Jack MacDonald. “He was a heck of a guy.”

Sheriff’s Sgt. Fred Jones said Colston was a patient, helpful firearms instructor, and encouraged him to call if he had any questions or concerns. “He was somebody that you liked knowing.”

Because Colston maintained close ties in Eustis, his contacts were crucial in the case of a carjacking, assault and shooting of a young widow at a grocery store parking lot and the slaying of her two young daughters in 1993.

It was his conversation with an informant that started the ball rolling toward the main suspect, Richard Henyard, and a phone call from the mother of the other killer, Alfonza Smalls, blew the case wide open. “She… began crying and telling us that he was there at the … crime scene,” Colston recalled in the book, “Unbroken: The Dorothy Lewis Story.”

“Until that time we didn’t have a suspect, just the car,” Robinson said.

Colston was hired as a sheriff’s deputy in 1990. He retired in 2015 as a master deputy. He worked as an investigator, a K-9 deputy, SWAT team member, road and bike patrol.

The viewing will be held Friday from 6 to 8 p.m., at Advancing the Kingdom Ministries, 417 N. Grove St., Eustis. The funeral will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at LifePointe Church, 351 E. Orange Ave., Eustis. Doors will be opened at 8:30 a.m. Burial will be held at Mount Olive Cemetery, 2970 Huffstetler Drive, Eustis. There will be a Sheriff’s Office honor and a Marine Corps detachment.

Survivors include his wife, Denise, of Eustis; three daughters, Sarah McCray and Tiffany Ivory (Chris)Smith, Eustis, and Monique (Kenny) Barnes, Norfolk, Va.; two sons, Jordan (Breann), Travieso, Camp Lejune, N.C., Mornas Colston III, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; one brother, Reuben Colston, Eustis; and one sister, Sheila Brooks, Rochester, N.Y.