Sergeant Dennis Sorrells
Troop A - Panama City
Sergeant Dennis Sorrells has been selected as the recipient of the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month award for September 1999, based on a traffic homicide investigation he conducted, as outlined below:
On September 17, 1998, Sergeant Sorrells, then a Traffic Homicide Investigator, conducted a traffic homicide investigation on S. R. 79, in Bay County, Florida. The crash resulted in the death of a mother and her unborn child and the loss of both legs of another passenger in the vehicle.
During the month of September 1999, the driver of the vehicle, defendant Paul Endsley, went to trial for DUI Manslaughter and DUI with Serious Bodily Injury. In court, Sergeant Sorrells had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver was driving the vehicle, was under the influence of alcohol, and was traveling at a very high rate of speed. The defendant, on the other hand, stated that he was not driving the vehicle, that he had not been drinking, and that the vehicle was not speeding.
Through a combination of Sergeant Sorrells’ excellent investigative and report-writing skills and professional courtroom demeanor, he convinced the jury that the defendant was responsible for the deaths and injuries in the crash. The jury retired to consider the evidence, and after only 21 minutes found the defendant guilty of all charges. The defendant was sentenced to twenty-five (25) years in prison, and ordered to pay fines and restitution of thirty thousand dollars ($30,000.00).
Recently promoted Sergeant Sorrells, a seventeen-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol, is hereby recognized for his actions during this investigation and trial. His performance certainly is a credit to the Florida Highway Patrol and to the State of Florida and he is commended for a job well done.
Sergeant Sorrells is assigned to Troop A, Panama City.