Member Recognition

2008 Trooper of the Year

Cabinet presents award to Troop Winders

Florida Cabinet Honors Trooper of the Year

The Florida Cabinet honored Trooper Thomas Winders naming him the 2008 Trooper of the Year for the Florida Highway Patrol.

On June 22, 2007, a vehicle crash occurred on State Road 91, one mile south of State Road 802 in Palm Beach County when the driver of a black 2004 Acura lost control and traveled into a canal. In seconds, the vehicle was completely submerged in the water with two people 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 to rescue the victims. He cut the seatbelt off the female occupant and pulled her to shore. Then he went back into the canal to rescue the male passenger and bring him to shore. Neither of the victims was breathing at the time.

Several Good Samaritans immediately began CPR on both victims while Trooper Winders reentered the canal for a third time to confirm no others were trapped inside the vehicle. The Good Samaritans were able to revive both victims. Shortly thereafter, 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. However, the male passenger was admitted in serious condition at Delray Community Hospital. He has since recovered from his injuries.