Corporal Michael Tucker
Troop A - Pensacola
Congratulations for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for May 2009, for your actions during an incident in a single month.
On October 7, 2007, Corporal Tucker responded to a report of a traffic fatality in the Brent community of Escambia County. It appeared that the victim, a female, had somehow fallen from the vehicle and was subsequently run over by the same vehicle before it came to rest after striking a utility pole. The preliminary investigation lead authorities to believe that the victim, who was also the vehicle owner, had, at the time been the passenger and that the driver had fled the scene on foot after striking the pole.
Corporal Tucker immediately recognized that the evidence was pointing toward the incident being an intentional act. It was determined that the victim may have been pushed, or was actually a pedestrian, and was run over deliberately by an unknown driver. Corporal Tucker then pursued the case as a traffic fatality and continued the investigation. A witness to the crash also informed Corporal Tucker that it appeared that the vehicle had struck and run over the victim, then struck the pole. A male subject was observed fleeing on foot. After locating and interviewing witnesses and family members of the victim Corporal Tucker learned that the victim’s ex-husband had made threats toward her.
As Corporal Tucker uncovered more information he became convinced that the offence was indeed an intentional act. He conveyed this information to the office of the state attorney. He also focused his attention on the ex-husband and obtained a search warrant to gather DNA from the driver’s airbag that was deployed in the crash. The suspect had initially denied any involvement with the incident, being with the victim or at the crash scene. Through Corporal Tucker’s diligence and determination he was able to build a strong enough case to arrest and charge the suspect with 2nd degree murder, vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of a crash involving death, and violation of an injunction for domestic violence. On April 15, 2009, the suspect was convicted of all charges and sentenced to 30 years in a state prison.
Corporal Tucker is to be commended for his diligence and initiative in looking beyond the initial findings and investigating further to solve this case. Corporal Tucker is commended for his actions during this incident and his demonstrated commitment to the people of Florida. Congratulations for being selected Trooper of the Month for May 2009.