Member Recognition

2011 Troopers of the Month

January | Trooper DaWayne Maddux

Congratulations to Trooper DaWayne Maddux for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for January 2011.

On January 22, Trooper Maddux stopped a vehicle going 120 mph in a 60 mph zone in Hernando County. When he approached the vehicle he observed a rifle with a magnifying scope, the safety off, lying on the front floor board. He asked the male driver to step out of the vehicle, if the gun was loaded and why he had it. The subject seemed to be depressed and confirmed that the gun was loaded with one round in the chamber.

Trooper Maddux called for backup and a Hernando County Deputy arrived to assist. After further investigation, the subject stated that he was distraught over his recent divorce and that his ex-wife was dating a police officer. He stated he was on his way to his ex-wife’s house to make a statement to her and her boyfriend and planned to use the gun if he had to. He also stated that he had rummaged through her trash can, stolen a cell phone from her vehicle and had gone to the residence on several occasions to watch them from across the street.

The subject was arrested and charged with two counts of stalking with a deadly weapon, DUI and Theft. Without this trooper’s quick response and decisive action there could have been grave consequences to this incident.

Trooper Maddux is to be commended for his actions and his commitment to the safety of the people of Florida. Congratulations for being selected Trooper of the Month for January 2011.


February | Trooper Daniel Jonas

Congratulations to Trooper Daniel Jonas for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for February 2011.

On Feb. 2, 2011, Trooper Daniel M. Jonas responded to a vehicle crash at Alafaya Trail and Curry Ford Road in East Orange County. After it crashed, the car overturned and landed in a lake. Jonas arrived at the scene with an Orange County Sheriff’s deputy and an Orange County paramedic. The trio jumped into the lake to assist the injured victim who was submerged in the vehicle.

Trooper Jonas broke the passenger and driver side windows and located the submerged elderly female driver. While attempting to remove the driver from her safety belt, Jonas sustained minor cuts to his right hand. The group was able to upright the vehicle and extricate the victim. The victim was transported to the hospital, where she died as a result of the injuries sustained in the crash despite the best efforts of her rescuers.

Trooper Jonas is to be commended for his actions and his commitment to the safety of the people of Florida. Congratulations for being selected Trooper of the Month for February 2011.


March | Trooper Stuart Campbell

Congratulations to Trooper Stuart Campbell for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for March 2011.

On March 4, 2011, while on patrol, Trooper Stuart Campbell noticed a pickup truck pulling an enclosed trailer northbound on SR 91 in Osceola County. Campbell saw smoke pouring out of the trailer and proceeded to stop the vehicle. After successfully stopping the truck, he informed the driver of the fire in the trailer. Campbell assisted the driver with separating the pickup truck from the burning trailer so the driver could move it to a safe location.

The driver advised Campbell that he was a Palm Beach County Deputy Sheriff and his gear was inside the trailer. It was obvious that the fire was out of control and they would not be able to retrieve any of the deputy’s gear. Campbell asked if the propane tanks on the trailer were full and the driver replied that they were. Campbell rushed to remove the two full propane tanks from the burning trailer. With help from the deputy, Campbell safely removed the tanks to prevent any possible explosion and harm to anyone including the responding firefighters.

Trooper Campbell is to be commended for his actions and his commitment to the safety of the people of Florida. Congratulations for being selected Trooper of the Month for March 2011.


April | Trooper David Roan

Congratulations to Trooper David Roan for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for April 2011.

On April 6, Roan responded to the area of I-10 and the 199 mile marker to assist officers from the Tallahassee Police Department who were investigating a car-jacking and searching for the suspect. Roan positioned himself on the south shoulder of eastbound I- 10 to see if the suspect would crossover the roadway. Officers from TPD, including K-9 units, were unable to locate the suspect and called off their search. Roan remained in the area with other officers from the Patrol. A short time later, he saw the suspect run across I-10 under the Old Bainbridge Road overpass from the area where the perimeter had been established.

While other officers drove north to attempt to cut the suspect off on Old Bainbridge Road, Roan drove to where the suspect was running and used his public address system to command the suspect to stop. The suspect ignored his instructions, jumped the concrete barrier wall, ran across the westbound lanes of I-10 and up the embankment to Old Bainbridge Road. Roan jumped the concrete barrier and ran up the embankment after the suspect. When he reached the top, Roan saw the suspect running north to an apartment complex and lost sight of him near the fence by the pool. When more TPD officers arrived, Roan to continued toward the apartment complex because the suspect had been known to reside there. He continued on foot and saw the suspect trying to hide in a concrete drainage ditch. Roan held the suspect at gunpoint until other officers arrived to take the suspect into custody.

Roan is to be commended for his actions during this incident.


May | Trooper William Lundy

Congratulations to Trooper William Lundy for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for May 2011.

On May 25, 2011, while traveling east on U.S. 27, Lundy observed two occupied vehicles on the north shoulder, which had apparently just collided into each other. He immediately notified the Tallahassee Regional Communications Center and quickly responded to the victims.

There was an adult male in one of the vehicles who did not appear to have any serious injuries, a child in another vehicle and an adult female on the ground near the vehicles. While someone else tended to the child Lundy went to help the adult female. The female was lying in the tall grass having difficulty breathing and was also unresponsive. Lundy was able to clear her airway in order to keep her alive. He was then able to keep her stable and calm until the paramedics arrived.

Trooper Lundy is to be commended for his actions during this incident and his demonstrated commitment to the people of Florida.


June | Trooper Richard Benton

Congratulations to Sergeant Richard Benton for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for June 2011.

On June 14, 2011, while patrolling Interstate 275, traveling south on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Benton stopped to check on a pickup truck which was parked at the top of the bridge. Upon further investigation, he observed the owner of the truck, who was crying and upset. The subject stated that he had stopped there because he was contemplating killing himself.

After several minutes of conversation, Sgt. Benton took the subject into custody and transported him to the Mental Health Services Facility in St. Petersburg where he was admitted under the Baker Act.

Sgt. Benton is to be commended for his actions during this incident and his demonstrated commitment to the people of Florida.


July | Trooper Ben Miller

Congratulations to Trooper Ben Miller for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for July 2011.

On July 18, 2011, Trooper Miller assisted the Plant City Police attempting to stop a man from jumping off the Fritzke Bridge. When the subject was momentarily distracted by a noise and looked towards the sound; Miller saw an opportunity and grabbed the subject pulling him from the edge of the bridge and then taking him into custody.

The suspect was transported to South Florida Baptist Hospital where he was admitted under the Baker Act. Upon leaving the hospital, the subject thanked Trooper Miller for saving his life.

Trooper Miller is to be commended for his actions during this incident and his demonstrated commitment to the people of Florida.


August | Trooper Ami Rhodes, Trooper Paulo Klimick-Peira and Aux. Trooper Ian Powers

Congratulations to Trooper Ami Rhodes, Trooper Paulo Klimick-Pereira and Auxiliary Trooper Ian Powers for being selected the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for August 2011.

On Aug. 17, 2011, Rhodes stopped to assist a disabled motorist on State Road 91. Another motorist pulled over and asked for assistance. A child in the vehicle was having difficulty breathing. Klimick-Pereira and Powers also stopped to help. The child stopped breathing, and the three troopers began to administer CPR. After several minutes of CPR, the child began to breath again on his own. Plantation Fire Rescue responded and transported the child to the hospital. It was later determined that the child had experienced a seizure, causing the child to stop breathing. The child should make a full recovery.

The Patrol commends the troopers for their actions during this incident and their demonstrated commitment to motorists on Florida’s roadways. Congratulations for being selected Trooper of the Month for August 2011.


September | Trooper Steven Varnell

Congratulations for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for September 2011, for your actions during a single month.

On September 20, 2011, Trooper Varnell responded as backup to assist Lieutenant Mattiza during a traffic stop, in which the female suspect fled the scene. The next day Varnell began an extensive process of contacting the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office. He prepared and submitted several warrants for the suspect’s arrest, then carried the warrant requests to the local judge for approval, to the clerk of the court for entry into the system and to the Hillsborough County Sheriff Office warrant section for distribution. In addition, Varnell also contacted the suspect’s probation officer who in turn, issued an immediate Violation of Probation warrant.

Varnell also used his resources with the Multi-Agency Gang Task Force and the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office Criminal Investigations Division. With their assistance, a warrant to “ping” the suspect’s cell phone was obtained. The suspect was located a short time later and apprehended without further incident.

After the arrest, Varnell submitted a warrant to search the suspect’s cellular phone in an attempt to locate any additional evidence pertaining to this incident. He also took steps to ensure that the jail monitored the suspect’s phone calls and visitor’s log.

Due to Varnell’s relentless pursuit of the suspect, combined with his investigative skills and developed resources, she was apprehended quickly and without incident.


October | Master Sergeant William Bishop

Congratulations for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for October 2011, for your actions during a single month.

Master Sgt. William Bishop responded to an Oct. 26 crash involving a pedestrian in Lake City. Upon Bishop’s arrival at the scene, he determined that the pedestrian had life-threatening injuries and requested dispatch to notify emergency medical services. Bishop learned that a log truck had struck the pedestrian and had left the scene. He provided the information to dispatch and requested a be-on-the-lookout message be transmitted to all law enforcement officers in the area. Bishop left the scene and joined the search for the vehicle. He located the truck approximately two miles from the crash scene. During an exterior search of the vehicle, Bishop observed what appeared to be evidence from the crash on one of its mud flaps. Once he secured the vehicle and the driver, Bishop requested assistance from the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Bureau to conduct a post-crash inspection.

Without his quick response and decisive action, the hit-and-run suspect may never have been located. Bishop is to be commended for his actions during this incident and his commitment to motorists on Florida’s roadways.


November | Sergeant Mary Godino

District Sergeant Named Trooper of the Month

Congratulations Sgt. Mary Godino for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for November 2011.

While traveling to work Nov. 9, 2011, Sgt. Godino noticed a stopped school bus, a cloud of dust and people waving their arms. At the scene, Godino determined that a fertilizer truck had been unable to stop and had overturned onto its left side. The driver of the fertilizer truck was trapped inside his vehicle. Godino crawled into the cab of the truck along with a nurse who had stopped to help and was able to keep the driver’s airway open until emergency medical services arrived. Upon arrival, the fire department and the wrecker service were able to extract the driver.

Without her quick response and decisive action, there could have been grave consequences to the incident. The Florida Highway Patrol commends Godino for her actions and her demonstrated commitment to the residents of Florida.


December | Trooper Maurice Vilsaint

Trooper Catches Suspect Attempting to Flee the State

While on patrol Dec. 12, 2011, Trooper Maurice Vilsaint observed a driver who was not wearing a safety belt. The driver was acting suspiciously and attempted to change lanes to move away from the trooper. Vilsaint initiated a traffic stop after he ran the license plate of the vehicle, and it came back assigned to a different vehicle. The driver was unable to provide any of the required documentation for the vehicle or his driver license. Upon running the driver’s name and date of birth, Vilsaint determined the driver had active warrants against him. After confirming all the warrants, Vilsaint arrested the driver. As part of the follow-up investigation, Vilsaint determined that the driver was attempting to flee the state.

Congratulations to Trooper Maurice Vilsaint for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for December 2011.


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