Photo/Story Gallery 2005

Young Basketball Star Saved by the Belt

FHP Troopers Youth Basketball Team with Coach Sgt. Daniels and Lt. Frith.Sergeant Ron Daniels, who has worked for the Florida Highway Patrol for over 20 years in the Ft. Pierce/Vero Beach area, has strong ties to his community in many ways, but none are as important as his role as mentor and basketball coach for the Vero Beach Gifford Community Youth League.

Pictured: FHP Troopers Youth Basketball Team with Coach Sgt. Ron Daniels(standing, left) and Lt. Tim Frith.

Recently, Sgt. Daniels was thankful that one of his star players, Stephan J. Smith, understood it when he told him that wearing his seat belt could save his life.

On February 1, 2005, Stephan, an enthusiastic twelve year old, was traveling with his parents near Vero Beach when they were involved in a serious car crash. Thankfully, Stephan was wearing his seat belt. Even though Stephan sustained injuries in the crash that caused his basketball season to come to an end, he is alive to tell the story!

On March 3rd, Stephan’s basketball team, the Troopers, played for the league championship. The team was inspired by Stephan as he cheered them on from his wheelchair. The Troopers won the championship.

Stephan Smith, with his team.During the trophy presentation, Stephan received an autographed Miami Heat basketball jersey donated by local troopers who work with Sgt. Daniels.

Pictured right, Stephan Smith, who was saved by his seat belt, is alive to see his team win the championship.

FHP applauds outstanding troopers like Sgt. Ron Daniels who take the time to mentor young kids, instilling safety messages and showing support in those who need it most. This time, it helped save a child’s life!