Photo/Story Gallery 2006

Troopers Honored for Valorous Performance

Sgt. Gay, Tpr. Hattle, Sgt. Fouaker and Tpr. Petty with ASIS Master of Ceremonies Charlene Shirk. Trooper Brian CreechTrooper Jeffrey Hattle, Trooper Stanley Petty, Sergeant Harry Fouraker, and Sergeant Jeff Gay (Troop G) were all honored by the Greater Jacksonville Chapter 091 of the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) during their 25th Annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Luncheon at the University of North Florida.

Pictured left, Honorees pose with ASIS Master of Ceremonies Charlene Shirk, a local TV personality and right, Trooper Brian Creech receives his award.

The four troopers were recognized for Valorous Performance in their role of solving two murders during a standoff of a motorist on I-95 in Jacksonville. For a separate heroic event, Trooper Brian Creech (Troop B) was also honored by ASIS for his performance.

News Related Articles about these troopers:

FHP Troopers Honored for their Courage

Published on Thursday, May 18, 2006
in the First Coast News

JACKSONVILLE, FL — They’re credited with potentially saving countless innocent lives. The Florida Highway Patrol troopers had to think fast and stay calm when Melissa Ferris shot and killed her passenger along Interstate-95. She then turned the gun on herself and toward people at the scene.

That shooting happened a year ago. Now some of the troopers are being honored for their bravery. It was as intense as it gets.

A driver who just shot her passenger and then turned her gun at troopers. “At that point there was no time to be power hungry so to speak and we just coordinated our efforts without actually communicating.”

Sgt. Jeff Gay was the Shift Supervisor when Ferris and Jeffrey Opp were pulled over on I-95. They were on the run from a murder they committed in Tennessee.

Now Opp was dead and Ferris was surrounded by officers from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and Troopers from the Florida Highway Patrol.

“First and foremost is officer safety. It’s going through my mind, these are my guys and I don’t want anything to happen to them and I want to make the right choice and the right decision.”

Sgt. Harry Fouraker was also there and feared that if Ferris fired her weapon or if troopers had to, someone in the surrounding area would be hurt.

“The area behind her had many many vehicles and many citizens and motorists which were really compromised if they had discharged their weapons and if she fired hers there was a good chance that people would have been injured behind her.”

As Sgt. Fouraker tried to talk Ferris into surrendering with a microphone, Sgt. Gay was taking aim at Ferris in case he had to fire to protect his men or anyone else in the area.

“I don’t want to lose a friend. I don’t want to lose a colleague, but at the same time I didn’t want to shoot the suspect. There was a point where she wouldn’t drop the firearm and after all these years on patrol it was actually my first time I remember thinking I’m going to fire at a human being.”

But he wouldn’t have to because Sgt. Fouraker used the loudspeaker to talk Ferris out of her car and into giving up.

“I indicated to her that there was still hope. And there was still a chance and she had not gone to a point of no return and I asked what we could to facilitate her to get her to surrender and to eliminate any further danger.”

Sgt. Gay says it was a critical conversation that he credits with saving countless lives. “He was able to gain her confidence and in a calm fashion get her to lay the firearm down right at the point where this situation was getting ready to escalate into something worse than it was.”

Because of their team and quick action four of the FHP Troopers including Fouraker and Gay are being recognized for the valor on that dangerous day. “It does feel good because we don’t hear that the positive stuff very often in our line of business.”

FHP Trooper Brian Creech involved in accident;
helps injured driver of other vehicle to safety

Published on Thursday, July 14, 2005
in the Suwannee Democrat

As Hurricane Dennis passed through Hamilton County on Sunday, July 10, the rainfall created unsafe driving conditions on several roads, including I-75.

According to a Florida Highway Patrol traffic report, Trooper Brian Creech was completing a traffic crash investigation report while sitting in his patrol car at 5:39 p.m. on Sunday. The patrol car was parked in the emergency lane of northbound I-75, just south of the Alapaha River, with the emergency blue lights flashing.

Brooks D. Tolbert of 918 Collins Ave., Lot 51, Warner Robins, Ga., stated in the report that as she came through a curve and approached the area where the patrol car was parked, the other traffic began to slow down. She stated that she slammed on the brakes and steered to the right to avoid collision with the vehicles ahead of her. Her vehicle then began to hydroplane due to standing water on the roadway causing her to lose control.

According to the report, Tolbert’s vehicle rotated clockwise while sliding towards the right shoulder of I-75. The front of her vehicle struck the left rear corner of the patrol car. As her vehicle continued its rotation, the left front side sideswiped the left rear side of the patrol car. Tolbert’s vehicle then disengaged from the patrol car and continued its clockwise rotation coming to a final rest in the center lane of I-75 facing southeast.

Several other vehicles began sliding after the initial crash resulting in two more crashes.

During this time, Trooper Creech ran from his patrol car to Tolbert’s car and found that she had suffered injuries to her face and foot. She was unable to exit from her vehicle, so Trooper Creech removed her from the vehicle and carried her across the guardrail to safety. He continued first aid until the Emergency Medical Services crew arrived on the scene.

Trooper Creech and Tolbert were transported to Trinity Hospital in Jasper with minor injuries. A passenger in Tolbert’s vehicle, Nicole M. Martin of 730 Alvis Rd., Jacksonville, also suffered minor injuries but was not transported to the hospital.