Trooper Frank C. Yodonis
Troop C - Lake Wales
Trooper Frank C. Yodonis has been selected as recipient of the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month award for November 1996, based on his actions which resulted in the rescue of a female carjacking victim.
On November 11, 1996, at 8:00 p.m., Trooper Yodonis observed a vehicle eastbound on Cypress Gardens Boulevard, in Polk County, driving without headlights. As Trooper Yodonis turned around on the vehicle, it pulled over onto the north shoulder.
As Trooper Yodonis exited his patrol vehicle and approached the 1996 Honda from behind, the passenger, Rubian Melendez, was standing by the passenger door. Trooper Yodonis asked the driver, Cindy Sanchez, if everything was all right because she appeared to be upset. Melendez told Trooper Yodonis that everything was okay, that they had just had a misunderstanding.
At that time, Ms. Sanchez screamed that he had a gun. Melendez pulled out a .38 caliber revolver and pointed it at Trooper Yodonis. Trooper Yodonis grabbed Melendez in a bear hug while successfully disarming him.
Further investigation revealed that Ms. Sanchez was a victim of an armed carjacking that the Polk County Sheriff's Office was investigating. Melendez was turned over to the Polk County Sheriff's Office where he was charged with Armed Carjacking, Armed Robbery, False Imprisonment, Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer, and Resisting Arrest with Violence.
Trooper Yodonis was treated at the Winter Haven Hospital for human bite wounds to the left wrist and hand. He is commended for his bravery, professionalism, and dedication to duty which resulted in the arrest of Melendez.
Trooper Yodonis is a 17-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol assigned to Troop C, Lake Wales.