Deputy Norman Lewis the 'happiest, sweetest guy you could ever meet'

By Sarah Panko, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, April 28, 2017, 11:52 AM EDT

This story was last updated on: 7:55 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017.

Danielle Giaquinto holds the coin that Deputy 1st Class Norman Lewis gave her during their two-year friendship.

"It says 'motor team 2,' and it has Orange County Sheriff's Office," she said Tuesday, a day after Lewis, a motorcycle deputy, was killed in a crash while looking for Markeith Loyd.

Giaquinto said Lewis, with his motor unit, would come visit her at her work at least twice a week at the RaceTrac convenience store on University Boulevard near the University of Central Florida.

"As soon as I saw him pull up, I was so happy because I knew he would give me a really big bear hug," Giaquinto said.

She said she took the picture the Orange County Sheriff's Office shared on Twitter on Tuesday of Lewis with her and her RaceTrac crew.

A memorial with flowers sits at the site where Lewis collided with a minivan on Balboa Drive and Pine Hills Road during the search for Loyd, who was being sought in connection to the slaying of Orlando Police Master Sgt. Debra Clayton on Monday. Charges are pending against the driver of the minivan, which troopers said pulled out into the path of Lewis' motorcycle.

Lewis graduated from UCF with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and played football for the Knights.

The Sheriff's Office also shared a video of the 35-year-old Lewis, who they call "Big Norm" and said he brought joy to others with his million-dollar smile.

For Giaquinto, she said she lost an amazing friend.

"He was the happiest, sweetest guy you could ever meet. He talked about how people should be positive. Life is so short. I never saw him unhappy. He cared for everyone," she said.