Trooper Ronald A. Drake
Troop C - Tampa
Trooper Ronald A. Drake has been selected as the recipient of the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month award for October 1999, based on his performance while aiding a frightened elderly lady in desperate need of assistance.
On Friday, October 8, 1999, Trooper Drake was on routine patrol, when he happened to come across two vehicles in the inside shoulder of Interstate 75 in Tampa. One vehicle was a red civilian vehicle, and the other was a County Ambulance. Trooper Drake stopped behind both vehicles and offered assistance. He noticed an elderly white male in the rear of the ambulance receiving intense treatment from paramedics. He also met with Mrs. Teresa Hooper (an elderly white female), the wife of the patient being treated. As he inquired further, Trooper Drake discovered that the elderly couple was enroute to Sarasota from New Hampshire when their vehicle experienced a flat tire. While the elderly male attempted to change the tire, he began having chest pains that progressed into a heart attack. When paramedics told Trooper Drake "it does not look good", he immediately began consoling the wife and kept assuring her that her husband was in good hands.
Paramedics decided that there was no time to waste, and transported the patient to the closest hospital, which was South Bay Hospital in Sun City Center. Since the paramedics did not want the wife to follow an ambulance traveling in an emergency response mode, Trooper Drake assured them that he would see to it that the patient’s wife would arrive at the hospital safely. With that, Trooper Drake again took the time to calm Mrs. Hooper down, and because she was completely unfamiliar with the area, and had no family or friends nearby that she could call, Drake escorted her to the hospital.
Trooper Drake stayed with Mrs. Hooper in the South Bay Hospital until he could get her calmed down. Due to the critical nature of the patient, the physician decided to transfer him to the Tampa General Hospital Trauma Center. Since they were going to transport Mr. Hooper via helicopter, his wife was not allowed to go along. This made matters even worse for Mrs. Hooper. Trooper Drake felt compelled to help, and subsequently made the necessary arrangements to take her to Tampa General Hospital in his patrol car. In his opinion, she was much too upset to drive, and completely unfamiliar on how to get herself to Tampa General Hospital.
Trooper Drake transported Mrs. Hooper to Tampa General Hospital, and even allowed her the use of his personal cellular phone and pager so that she could communicate with family members in New Hampshire.
Trooper Drake woke up the next morning still concerned about the situation. He took the initiative to drive over to South Bay Hospital to check on the security of Mr. Hooper’s vehicle. After that, he revisited Mrs. Hooper at Tampa General Hospital, bringing her coffee and a newspaper, and informing her that her vehicle was safe.
Trooper Drake is a 3-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol assigned to Troop C, Tampa.