Trooper Thomas Winders
Troop K - West Palm Beach
Congratulations to Trooper Thomas Winders for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for June 2007, for your efforts to save the lives of two motorists by pulling them from their submerged vehicle.
On Friday, June 22, 2007, a vehicle crash occurred on State Road 91, one mile south of State Road 802, when the driver of a black 2004 Acura lost control and traveled into a deep water canal. In seconds, the vehicle was completely submerged in the water with two occupants trapped inside.
Trooper Thomas Winders arrived on the scene, along with Trooper Christopher Zarazinski. While Trooper Zarazinski maintained control of the scene, Trooper Winders entered the water in an attempt to rescue the victims. He was able to cut the seatbelt off the female occupant and pull her to shore. Then Trooper Winders went back into the canal to rescue the male passenger and bring him to shore. Neither of the victims was breathing at this time.
Several Good Samaritans immediately began CPR on both victims while Trooper Winders reentered the canal for a third time to make sure no other occupants were trapped inside the vehicle. The Good Samaritans were able to revive both victims. Soon, Palm Beach Fire Rescue arrived along with Palm Beach Trauma Hawk to assist with first aid. Both victims were in critical condition and were airlifted to Delray Medical Center. Unfortunately, the female was pronounced dead later that night. The male victim remains in serious condition at Delray Community Hospital. Trooper Winders sustained minor scrapes during the rescue attempt.