Trooper James M. Raymond
Troop K - Kissimmee
Trooper James M. Raymond has been selected as recipient of the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month award for December, 1996, based on his actions which resulted in the rescue of an individual who had fallen into a cattle crossing.
On December 27, 1996, while on routine patrol at approximately 9:30 p.m., Trooper Raymond stopped to help a disabled vehicle at the 215 milepost. The vehicle was occupied by a woman and her two children. The woman advised Trooper Raymond that her husband had left on foot for help towards the Canoe Creek Service Plaza. After calling a tow truck, Raymond proceeded north on the Turnpike to see if he could locate the missing man. He also checked with Canoe Creek Service Plaza to see if the man had arrived seeking help. They advised he had not. Trooper Raymond drove to the 222 milepost, failing to locate the driver. Assuming the man had been picked up and was still enroute to the service plaza, Raymond proceeded back south.
Later on Trooper Raymond contacted the service plaza to see if the man had arrived there. They advised he had still not arrived. Thinking the man may have been struck by a vehicle, Raymond began to search the shoulder of the road to see if he could locate any evidence of the man being struck. Failing to locate anything, he then remembered a similar incident at the 215.4 mile marker in which a patron fell into a cattle crossing. At this time Trooper Marcella contacted Trooper Raymond to advise him the man had still not arrived at the service plaza. Thinking maybe the man had gone to the Avis Rent-A-Car office, Trooper Marcella contacted them. They advised he had not arrived there.
Trooper Raymond returned to the area of the 215.4 milepost where he knew a cattle crossing was located and heard a cry for help below. The man had stepped over the guardrail and fell into the cattle crossing approximately fifteen feet below. Trooper Raymond called for Rescue and the man was airlifted to Holmes Regional Medical Center in Brevard County with serious injuries. While waiting for Rescue to arrive, Trooper Raymond administered first aid until relieved by paramedics. Trooper Raymond then arranged for transportation through Brevard County Sheriff's Office to meet him and transport the family to the hospital.
It is believed that Mr. Beele would not have made it out of the cattle crossing alive if Trooper Raymond had not found him as quickly as he did. Mr. Beele was already in shock which could have resulted in a tragedy.
Trooper Raymond is a 15-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol assigned to Troop K, Kissimmee.