Trooper Christopher J. Hickel
Troop F - Naples
Trooper Christopher J. Hickel has been selected as recipient of the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month award for February, 1997, based on his heroic efforts to rescue two victims whose vehicle had entered a canal on Alligator Alley.
On February 22, 1997, at approximately 10:15 a.m., Trooper Hickel was dispatched to a traffic crash at the 81 mile marker on Interstate 75 (Alligator Alley) in which a vehicle had gone into a canal. Upon his arrival at the scene, Hickel was advised by witnesses that the vehicle was occupied by two people and that it had only been in the canal for a few moments.
Trooper Hickel immediately jumped into the canal and began searching for the vehicle. The water was very muddy and visibility was less than three feet. He was able to locate the vehicle and began searching the interior of the passenger compartment. After several dives and a complete search of the vehicle, Trooper Hickel was unable to locate the driver or passenger, although he continued to search until a dive team from the Collier County Sheriff's Office arrived on the scene.
The dive team members then combed the area around the vehicle and were able to locate both victims several feet from the vehicle on the bottom of the canal. Although Trooper Hickel was unable to locate and rescue the two victims, his heroic actions exemplify the high standards of the Florida Highway Patrol.
Trooper Hickel is a 15-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol assigned to Troop F, Naples.