Trooper Dean Empie
Troop C - Tampa
Congratulations to Trooper Dean Empie for being selected as the recipient of the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Of Month award for August 2003, based on his quick response and assistance in saving the lives of two occupants in a motor vehicle.
On Saturday, August 2, 2003, Trooper Dean Empie responded to a B.O.L.O. for a driver who was possibly asleep or passed out at the wheel while traveling east on Interstate 4. Trooper Empie, while working S.O.A.R., was flagged down by a motorist and informed of the same information. Suddenly, Trooper Empie observed the suspect's vehicle drifting across several lanes of traffic. Trooper Empie saw that a young female passenger was pulling on the steering wheel of the vehicle.
Next, Trooper Empie was able to pull along side the vehicle and see that the driver was passed out, his head tilted backwards, while the vehicle was traveling at 55 mph. Trooper Empie saw the young female passenger, who was screaming into a cell phone. Trooper Empie yelled "what is wrong with him" to the female passenger, and she replied, "He is drunk." Trooper Empie then slowed down and pulled along side the passenger's side of the vehicle and motioned to the female passenger to roll down her window and put the cell phone down because she would have to stop the vehicle herself. As a result of the instructions given by Trooper Empie, the young female was able to safely stop the vehicle in the center lane of I-4.
Further investigation revealed that the young female passenger was only twelve years old. The driver was so intoxicated that he had to be transported to Tampa General hospital for observation. Consequently, the driver was transported to the Hillsborough County Jail, and charged with DUI and Child Endangerment. Trooper Empie utilized his years of experience and knowledge to defuse an extremely dangerous situation. As a result, Trooper Empie's quick actions definitely saved the lives of two occupants in the vehicle and who knows how many others on the roadway.
Trooper Empie acted in the highest tradition of the Florida Highway Patrol, and is hereby commended for his actions. Again, we congratulate him on being selected as recipient of the Trooper Of Month award for August 2003!