2012 Troopers of the Month
January | Trooper Robert Ivey and Corporal Alvaro Feola
Troopers Work Together to Save a Life
Trooper Robert Ivey and Cpl. Alvaro Feola responded to a crash on State Road 91 in St. Lucie County, Jan. 14, 2012. A driver had lost control, and the vehicle overturned. The vehicle came to rest on its driver side and burst into flames with the driver still belted inside. Ivey and Feola quickly approached the vehicle, and Ivey attempted to break the rear window but was unsuccessful. Feola grabbed his mag light and was able to get into the vehicle.
Ivey entered the smoky vehicle and saw the flames were beginning to penetrate the dashboard. Ivey began to cut the safety belt. However, his safety belt cutter was too small. Feola reached in and tossed Ivey a larger pocketknife, which he was able to use to free the individual. As Ivey was assisting the driver, he noticed the individual’s pant leg was on fire. Ivey and Feola were able to smother the flames on his leg.
Due to fire spreading throughout the vehicle and the driver’s difficulty breathing, Ivey and Feola carried the driver to a safe location. The St. Lucie County Fire Department arrived and extinguished the fire. The driver was given oxygen for smoke inhalation and shortly thereafter was transported to the Lawn Wood Medical Center for further treatment.
Congratulations to Ivey and Feola for being selected as co-recipients of the Florida Highway Patrol’s January 2012 Trooper of the Month.
February | Trooper Matthew Williams
Congratulations to Trooper Matthew Williams on his selection as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for February 2012.
On Feb. 13, Williams responded to an incident involving a suspicious vehicle located on Interstate-4 in Polk County. Upon his arrival at the rest area, he located the suspicious vehicle and noticed that both the driver and the passenger were unresponsive. After observing a bottle of Oxycodone pills in the driver’s hand, Williams requested Emergency Medical Services to respond. He provided medical assistance to both occupants, believing the driver and passenger had possibly overdosed. Williams used his training as a first responder to keep both occupants’ airways open so they could continue to breath.
Once on site, EMS personnel determined the passenger had overdosed. EMS transported the passenger to the hospital and cleared the driver medically. Williams arrested the driver for driving under the influence and other felony charges regarding the prescription medication found in the vehicle.
March | Trooper Alejandro Comacho
Congratulations to Trooper Alejandro Comacho for his selection as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for March 2012.
On March 24, Comacho conducted a traffic stop for a driver’s safety belt violation in Miami-Dade County. A routine records check revealed that the driver had two arrest warrants out of Miami-Dade County. Comacho arrested the driver then asked the passenger to exit the vehicle. Comacho observed a shiny black object under the passenger side seat near the passenger’s foot. A closer look at the object revealed an Action Arms UZI 99mm fully automatic firearm. Comacho then arrested the passenger. Comacho searched the vehicle and found four small ziplock baggies containing marijuana.
Thanks to Camacho’s experience and practice of officer safety, two dangerous individuals are behind bars. Camacho charged the driver with possession of a controlled substance, paraphernalia and two warrants. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives charged the passenger with federal weapons violations.
April | Trooper Jeffrey VanArsdale
Congratulations, Trooper Jeffrey A. VanArsdale, for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for April 2012.
VanArsdale was dispatched to a hit-and-run traffic crash involving a motorcycle and a black vehicle located on U.S. 41 at Murdock Circle in Charlotte County. When he arrived to the scene, he found only the motorcycle and its rider severely injured.
The initial call came through the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Department, and they were actively looking for the vehicle when VanArsdale was dispatched. They located and started following the suspect vehicle by helicopter northbound on Toledo Blade Boulevard. A Department of Environmental Protection police unit also was in the vicinity and attempted to locate the suspect vehicle, a black Dodge Durango. The DEP officer located the suspect vehicle, followed it southbound on Toledo Blade Boulevard and reported to the dispatch center that he was behind the suspect vehicle. VanArsdale asked the Sheriff’s Office to assist with securing the scene so that he could proceed to the location of the hit-and-run suspect. With the assistance of a North Port Police Officer, the DEP unit initiated a traffic stop. VanArsdale arrived moments later and transported the male suspect to the hospital for a blood draw.
He later arrested and charged the man with Driving Under the Influence with serious bodily injuries, two counts of DUI property damage, leaving the scene of a traffic crash with serious bodily injuries, leaving the scene with property damage, driving while license suspended, failure to render aid and careless driving.
VanArsdale is working with the State Attorney’s Office. The suspect is currently in the Charlotte County Jail pending prosecution.
May | Trooper William Evers
Congratulations, Trooper William T. Evers, for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for May 2012.
On May 14, Evans saw an erratic driver on State Road 263 in Leon County. After observing the vehicle for about a mile, Evers conducted a traffic stop. Evers approached the vehicle and asked the driver if everything was okay, and the driver just stared at him. The driver appeared to be suffering from a medical emergency and was unresponsive. Evers pulled the driver out of the vehicle and began CPR. He continued with chest compressions and rescue breaths until Emergency Medical Service arrived and transported the driver to the hospital. The driver has recovered from his medical emergency thanks to Evers’s quick thinking and effort.
FHP commends Evers for his actions during the incident, where he saved a man’s life, and possibly the lives of other motorists on the road that day.
June | Trooper Jacob McMahan
Congratulations for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol’s Trooper of the Month for June 2012, for your actions during a single month.
On June 21, a suspect fled from Lee County deputies in a stolen vehicle. McMahan saw the vehicle traveling northbound on Interstate 75 approaching Laurel Road. McMahan attempted to stop the vehicle. The driver of the stolen vehicle crashed into a parked vehicle in the parking lot of a gas station after fleeing from McMahan. The two occupants tried to leave the scene after they crashed the vehicle. McMahan arrested both occupants and charged them with several misdemeanor and felony charges, to include possession of a stolen vehicle, fleeing to elude and possession of a stolen firearm.
McMahan is to be commended for his actions during this incident and his commitment to motorists on Florida’s roadways.
July | Trooper Marcos Diaz
Congratulations for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for July 2012.
On July 19, Trooper Marcos Diaz responded to a capsized vessel in the ocean with three occupants near the 109 mile marker of US 1. Upon arriving on the scene, two of the occupants, who swam to shore, told Diaz and Monroe County Emergency Medical Service personnel that Mr. Riveron-Martinez was still out in the water, and could not swim.
Diaz immediately jumped in the water with a backboard from Monroe County EMS. As Diaz was swimming out to him, Riveron-Martinez became frantic and started yelling about fishing line wrapped around his legs. Diaz was able to reach him, just as he started to go under water from exhaustion. Diaz used the backboard as a floatation device and helped Riveron-Martinez cut some of the fishing line off his legs.
Diaz then used a lamp that Riveron-Martinez had around his neck to signal the Coast Guard to their location. Once they got on the boat, the crew members cut the fishing line off Riveron-Martinez. The Coast Guard dropped them off at the local marina. EMS cleared Riveron-Martinez to go home.
Without his quick response and decisive action, there could have been tragic consequences to the incident. The Florida Highway Patrol commends Diaz for his actions and his demonstrated commitment to the residents of Florida.
August | Trooper Gualberto Morales
Congratulations to Trooper Gualberto Morales for being selected the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for August 2012.
On Aug. 30, Morales was completing a traffic stop on Interstate-75 when he noticed three Collier County Sheriff Office patrol vehicles heading eastbound in emergency mode. The Fort Myers Regional Communication Center told Morales of reports of a tractor-trailer crashing into a canal. Morales responded and noticed several people already in the murky water. Morales jumped in the alligator infested water in an attempt to rescue possible survivor(s).
After diving down several times, Morales was able to hear and feel the driver tapping on the cab of the truck. He was unable to open the door or break the window due to the pressure of the water. Shortly thereafter, members of the Golden Gate Fire and Rescue arrived and with his assistance were able to rescue the driver.
Morales is commended for his actions during this incident and has demonstrated commitment to the residents of the state of Florida.
September | Trooper Shelia Walker
Congratulations to Trooper Shelia Walker for being selected the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for August 2012.
On Sept. 20, Walker observed a man running out of the TD Bank in Lake City, carrying a blue duffle bag with red smoke coming out of it. She realized that he had just robbed the bank and began to pursue him. She followed him into the back yard of residence, exited her patrol car, drew her weapon and ordered the man to stop. Columbia County Sheriff’s deputies arrived and arrested the man on felony charges.
FHP commends Walker for her actions during the incident, wherein she demonstrated commitment to the residents of the state of Florida
October | Trooper Andrew Cobb
Congratulations to Trooper Andrew Cobb for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for October 2012.
On Oct. 31, 2012, a man approached Cobb and stated a woman had collapsed in the street. Cobb found the woman unresponsive and determined that she did not have a pulse. Cobb notified emergency medical services and performed CPR until they arrived. The woman survived because of Cobb’s effort. Without Cobb’s quick response and decisive action, there could have been grave consequences.
FHP commends Cobb for his actions during the incident, where he saved a woman’s life and has demonstrated commitment to the residents of the state of Florida.
November | Trooper Joseph P. Bowers
Congratulations to Trooper Joseph P. Bowers for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for November 2012.
On Nov. 9, 2012, the Fort Myers Regional Communications Center received a call from a Road Ranger stating a driver refused to leave after the Road Ranger had provided him fuel. Bowers arrived on location and noticed the driver acting abnormal. After a few minutes of conversation, Bowers convinced the man to commit himself into the Lee County Mental Health Facility. As Bowers walked the man to his patrol car, the man ran into traffic. Bowers was able to stop oncoming traffic and secure the man, thus preventing a tragedy. Bowers transported the man to Lee Memorial Hospital for observation.
FHP commends Bowers for his actions during the incident, wherein he demonstrated commitment to the residents of the state of Florida.
December | Trooper Javier Hernandez
Congratulations to Trooper Javier Hernandez for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for December 2012.
On Dec. 24, 2012 Hernandez received a call from the Tampa Bay Regional Communications Center regarding a man traveling to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in order to commit suicide.
Hernandez saw the vehicle and attempted to stop it prior to reaching the top of the bridge. However, the man drove to the top of the bridge where he pulled to the shoulder, exited his vehicle and moved towards the outside barrier wall of the bridge. Fearing for the safety of the subject and in an attempt to save the man’s life, Hernandez deployed his Taser. Hernandez took the man into protective custody without injury and transported to St. Anthony’s hospital.
Without Hernandez’s quick response and decisive action, there could have been grave consequences. He is commended for his actions during this incident and his commitment to the residents of the State of Florida.