Trooper Joseph A. Fabiano
Troop L - Lantana
Trooper Joseph A. Fabiano has been selected as recipient of the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month award for September, 1998, for rescuing a trapped subject from a burning vehicle.
On September 13, 1998, Trooper Fabiano was utilizing stationary radar on Interstate 95 in Palm Beach County and at approximately 5:40 a.m., he clocked a vehicle at 93 miles per hour in a 70 mile per hour zone. As Trooper Fabiano attempted to overtake the vehicle, it became apparent that the driver of the vehicle had noticed Fabiano enter the roadway and now was attempting to exit the Interstate at the northbound Donald Ross exit. The driver of the suspect vehicle could not negotiate the curve at the speed he was traveling, and left the roadway, overturning. Trooper Fabiano witnessed the vehicle crash.
After rolling and coming to final rest on its top, the vehicle burst into flames. The driver was still inside the vehicle, strapped in his seat belt. With the vehicle in flames, Trooper Fabiano rushed to the aid of the trapped driver. Fabiano strongly suspected criminal activity, and after extricating the driver from the burning vehicle, he secured the suspect with handcuffs, and went back to the burning vehicle to check for other occupants.
The driver and sole occupant of this vehicle, a 16 year old juvenile, had stolen the vehicle from the Lake Worth, Florida area. Trooper Fabiano's actions surely saved the life of the juvenile, who was trapped upside down in his seatbelt in a burning vehicle. By the time of the arrival of the fire department, the interior of the vehicle had been totally consumed by flames. The damage from the flames and heat was extensive, showing the severity of the fire.
The hazards existing within a burning vehicle are well known, and the risk of injury or death in being near a burning vehicle are very high. With no regard for his own safety, Trooper Fabiano extracted a trapped juvenile, removed him from the area of danger, and then went back to the vehicle to search for other occupants. His actions were above and beyond the call of duty. The courage Trooper Fabiano displayed in rescuing a trapped subject from a burning vehicle is exemplary.
Trooper Fabiano is a thirteen- year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol assigned to Troop L, Lantana.