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Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Colonel Christopher A. Knight
Neil Kirkman Building
2900 Apalachee Parkway
Tallahassee, Florida 32399

On Tuesday March 09, 2004, I was notified by a close family friend Florida State Trooper H.K. Weaver, Jr. that Jade L. Roberts had been killed in a car accident involving a school bus in Obrien, Florida earlier that same day. Trooper H.K. Weaver, Jr. advise me that upon his interviewing some of the victims from the accident it had came to attention that the victim may in fact be related to retired Florida State Trooper, Capt. Hubert Carver (deceased). Trooper H.K. Weaver, Jr. called me on this day because he wanted me to confirm this information due to his personal knowledge that I am and have been a life long friend to the Roberts Family. It was at that time I told Trooper H.K.Weaver, Jr. that the information he had received was correct, Jade Roberts was the great niece of retired Florida State Trooper, Capt. Hubert Carver. I contacted Florida State Trooper, Capt. Bob Miller, who was already aware of the accident and advised him of the victim's relationship to Capt. Hubert Carver. Capt. Bob Miller was very sympathetic for the family and told me that should the Roberts family need anything to let him or the investigating team know; as they would do their best to fulfill any request.

I called the Roberts family shortly after hearing the tragic news and gave my condolences. It was during the conversation with Donald Roberts (victims father) that I realized he was still in a state of confusion about the events that had transpired and lead to his daughters death. Donald had questions and wanted answers, I tried to give him the best answers that I had knowledge to but unfortunately was not able to answer them all.

The following day, March 10th, I went to visit with the Roberts family to offer my sympathy and support. While talking with Donald Roberts he requested to speak with the investgating officers. Donald said he still had many questions and wanted to know the details of the accident. I then told Donald, I would do my best to see that request be arranged. At that time I contacted Capt. Bob Miller and asked him if he could arrange for the investgating officer to come out to the Robert's residence to answer some questions for the family. Capt. Bob Miller contacted Trooper H.K. Weaver, Jr., who was assisting in the accident investgation, and advised him of the Robert's family request. Trooper H.K. Weaver, Jr. then notified the primary homicide investigator, Flordia State Trooper, Cpl. Jessie T. Stalnaker, Jr. and told him of the family request.

Cpl. Jessie T. Stalnaker, Jr. responded to the Robert's residence on March 10th to offer his sympathy and answer any unresolved questions relating to the accident. Cpl. Stalnaker, Jr. consoled the family and stayed with the family members until he felt that all their questions had been answered. He also brought with him personal items belonging to the victim, Jade Roberts, that he had recovered from the accident scene, feeling that the family would want to have them. Cpl. Stalnaker, Jr. acted in a very gracious and considerate manner with the family. It was because of his patience and caring actions, that the Robert's family could begin to have closure on the terrible tragedy that they had experienced.

As being a law enforcement officer myself, it is my opinion that many law enforcement officers throughout the years of the their careers become cynical and unfortunately may appear rough and unfeeling to many citizens. This was not the case with Cpl. Jessie T. Stalnaker, Jr. It is my opinion that he went above and beyond his duty as a Florida State Patrolman to show his remorse and he represented the Florida Highway Patrol in a very professional manner. I would like to thank all of the Florida State Troopers involved at the accident scene and the follow-up investigation, however a special thanks to Cpl. Jessie T. Stalnaker, Jr. for the gracious way he handled the concerns of the family, Capt. Bob Miller for his quick response to the requests of the family and Trooper H.K. Weaver, Jr. for his taking time, while interviewing the 41 children (victims) from the bus and also their parents, to notify myself and other close friends of the family of the incident and the victim's relation to the Florida Highway Patrol. I am extremely proud of the way the Florida Highway Patrol handled the entire incident and would like special recognition given to those officers involved.

Family friend and fellow law enforcement officer,

Bob Avery

 


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