Trooper Tina M. Case
Troop D - Orlando
Trooper Tina M. Case has been selected as recipient of the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month award for May, 1998, based on her actions involving the identification of a diabetic subject in need of medical assistance.
During the early morning hours of May 19, 1998, Sergeant James P. Rhyne was riding with Trooper Thomas O’Donnell on Interstate 4. As they approached the Beeline Expressway, they spotted a vehicle which had crashed into the wooded west shoulder area of Interstate 4. Sergeant Rhyne and Trooper O’Donnell approached the crash scene and observed the driver stagger from the site. He did not appear to be injured, but seemed to be profoundly intoxicated. The subject was unable to communicate clearly, and by all outward appearances, was drunk.
Trooper Case then arrived on the scene to assist, and immediately recognized that the subject was wearing a medic alert necklace, and subsequently discovered that he was a diabetic. Case immediately summoned a rescue unit for medical help.
Rescue personnel arrived shortly thereafter, and after testing the subject, discovered that his blood sugar was dangerously low, at which time paramedics immediately administered glucose to him. Within twenty minutes, he was within his normal faculties, and although admitting to having had a couple of beers earlier in the evening, he passed a regiment of standardized field sobriety tests.
Because if witness statements concerning the subject's driving actions, the odor of alcoholic beverages on his breath, and his extreme impairment, it would not have been unreasonable for an experienced officer to conclude that the subject was simply a drunk driver, rather than a victim of a severe medical condition.
Trooper Case is to be commended for her quick thinking in this situation. Her advanced medical training served this subject in such a way that it probably saved his life. By recognizing his condition and alerting to his medic alert necklace, Trooper Case insured that he received proper medical attention immediately, and was not wrongly arrested for DUI.
Trooper Case is an eight-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol assigned to Troop D, Orlando.