Trooper of the Month

2020 Trooper of the Month

January | Trooper Richard Crenshaw, Captain Amos Santiago, Jr.

Congratulations to Trooper Richard Crenshaw and Captain Amos Santiago, Jr. for being selected as co-recipients for the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for January 2020.

On Friday, January 31, 2020, Crenshaw and Santiago responded to the scene of a two-vehicle crash located at mile marker 261 on the Florida Turnpike. As Crenshaw arrived, he was notified that a four-month old baby boy was in the back seat of the vehicle that had been struck from the rear. Santiago immediately evaluated the infant who was turning blue and began CPR. Crenshaw contacted dispatch and requested medical assistance. Orange County Fire Rescue arrived on scene as the infant began to regain color. He was transported to Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital.

Unfortunately, the next morning the infant was removed from life support and succumbed to his injuries. While this was a tragic loss to the family, due to Crenshaw’s and Santiago’s quick, decisive, and lifesaving efforts, the family of the infant was able to gather at the bedside, have the infant baptized, and spend the last few hours of his life with him. Crenshaw and Santiago are true assets to the Florida Highway Patrol and exemplify what it is to be


February | Trooper Stephen Dorgan

Congratulations to Trooper Stephen Dorgan for being selected as a co-recipient for the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for February 2020.

On Sunday, February 9, 2020, Dorgan conducted a traffic stop for a violation of right of way. Upon contacting the driver, Dorgan learned he had a heart condition and was not feeling well. After speaking with him for several minutes, Dorgan observed his hands beginning to shake and then ball up. The driver started turning red and became unresponsive. Dorgan immediately checked for vitals and was unable to locate a pulse. Dorgan requested EMS and began Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

A trooper in the area, Trooper Ronny Refuse, arrived on scene and attached his Automated External Defibrillator (AED). The AED analyzed the driver and a shock was delivered. Both Dorgan and Refuse continued CPR until Fire and EMS arrived on scene to take over care and transport him to the Largo Medical Center.

Dorgan’s attention to detail when making a traffic stop and working in concert with Refuse to provide medical aid which saved the driver’s life. Dorgan and Refuse are true assets to the Florida Highway Patrol and exemplify what it is to be a Florida State Trooper.


March | Trooper Rony Refuse, Trooper Jean Mora, Trooper Michael Marcella

Congratulations to Trooper Rony Refuse, Trooper Jean Mora and Trooper Michael Marcella for being selected as co-recipients for the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for March 2020.

On March 12, 2020, Refuse and Marcella responded to the scene of a distressed female holding a child on the Florida’s Turnpike northbound overpass at mile marker 242. The road ranger on scene advised that the female was acting odd and yelling at him. Mora arrived and attempted to confront the female who threated to jump off the bridge if he approached any closer.

Upon arrival to the scene, while the female was distracted by Marcella, Mora rapidly approached the female and separated her from the child. Marcella took the mother into custody. Mora transported the child to Post 7 until the Florida Department of Children and Families responded along with the child’s father.

They are to be commended for their actions for their quick actions to prevent harm or death to the driver and her child. They are each true assets to the Florida Highway Patrol and exemplify what it is to be a Florida State Trooper.


April | Trooper Joseph S. Angelicchi

Congratulations to Trooper Joseph S. Angelicchi for being selected as the recipient for the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for April 2020.

On April 11, 2020, Angelicchi observed a female walking away from her vehicle on the Skyway Bridge towards the top of the bridge.  As Angelicchi approached, he observed the female sit on the edge of the bridge wall and then fall towards the water. The female caught herself with both hands on the edge. As she began to let go, Angelicchi grabbed her right hand and a portion of her jacket.

The female began to scream and fight for Angelicchi to let her go. In the struggle to pull her to safety, Angelicchi started to go over the wall. Angelicchi anchored himself, as two Good Samaritans stopped to assist. The three of them began to pull the female back over as she started to kick and use her knees to anchor herself on the edge of the bridge wall. Together, they were able to pull the female over the wall to safety, where she was taken into custody without further incident.

Angelicchi is to be commended for his actions. Angelicchi placed himself in great danger and risked his own life to save a determined and distraught female from ending hers. Angelicchi went over and beyond the call of duty to successfully save a life. Angelicchi is a true asset to the Florida Highway Patrol, and he exemplifies what it is to be a Florida State Trooper.


May | Trooper John Ellerbee, Trooper Ronald Khune, Trooper Zachary Steiner, Trooper Carlos Lopez, Trooper Joel McLeod

Congratulations to Trooper John Ellerbee, Trooper Ronald Khune, Trooper Zachary Steiner, Trooper Carlos Lopez and Trooper Joel McLeod for being selected as co-recipients for the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for May 2020.

On May 8, 2020, a dump truck traveling westbound on Interstate 10 experienced a blowout of the left front tire as it approached the Blackwater River Bridge. The driver was unable to maintain control of the vehicle causing it to crash through the bridge guardrails, sending it down a steep embankment and overturning into the Blackwater River. The truck was mostly submerged with the left side of the cab sticking out of the water.

Due to working a wildfire in the area, Ellerbee, Steiner, McLeod, Lopez and Khune responded immediately. Upon arrival at the scene, Ellerbee, McLeod, and Steiner ran down the embankment, dropped their weapon belts, and without hesitation, jumped into the river to render aid to the driver, whose condition was unknown. Lopez and Khune stood by the bridge guarding the weapons and providing equipment to assist in the water.

Upon reaching the driver, Ellerbee discovered the cab was nearly full of water with only a small air pocket on the driver’s side of the cab. The driver was conscious but pinned by the crushed steering wheel and unable to free himself. Using a prybar provided by Lopez and Khune, Ellerbee was able to open the driver door. Santa Rosa Fire-Rescue arrived on scene and Ellerbee was able to free the driver using bolt cutters. The driver was secured to a backboard and transferred to a boat with EMS personnel waiting onboard to provide medical attention.

They are each to be commended for Their actions. The teamwork and selfless actions by all led to the successful rescue of this seriously injured driver. They placed themselves in great danger and risked their own lives to save another. They are true assets to the Florida Highway Patrol, and they exemplify what it is to be a Florida State Trooper.


June | Trooper Darin Harper

Congratulations to Trooper Darin Harper for being selected as the recipient for the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for June 2020.

On June 4, 2020, Harper was notified of a reckless driver traveling southbound on Interstate 95. The vehicle was reported to be traveling in excess of 100 mph and unable to maintain lane control. Harper was able to identify the vehicle as it approached his location and initiated a traffic stop.

After notifying the subject his driver license was suspended, the subject fled the scene and Harper pursued crossing into Volusia County where the subject crashed, overturning on the grassy shoulder. Harper approached the vehicle to render assistance to the driver. Harper broke the glass of the vehicle with his agency issued window punch, sustaining minor cuts.

While attempting to assist the driver and remove him from the vehicle, he began reaching for something within the vehicle. Harper asked the driver several times what he was reaching for. He told Harper that he was reaching for a firearm and that he was going to kill him. Harper then drew his agency issued service weapon and retreated behind nearby construction signs to obtain concealment. The subject crawled out of the vehicle and Harper gave loud verbal commands advising him to stop. The subject ignored Harper’s commands and began approaching him.

Harper observed that the subject was not armed but appeared to be holding something light in color, possibly papers or a plastic bag. Harper transitioned from his service weapon to his Taser and gave commands for him to stop. As he continued to approach, ignoring commands, Harper deployed the first cartridge. One probe stuck the subject in his upper torso while the subject continued to advance in Harper’s direction. Harper toggled his taser over and deployed the second cartridge, connecting to the subject who fell onto the grass. Harper detained the subject and called for fire rescue to render aid. The subject later advised he was suicidal.

Harper is to be commended for his quick actions. Harper effectively utilized his training and experience to bring an end to a dangerous situation. Harper is a true asset to the Florida Highway Patrol, and he exemplifies what it is to be a Florida State Trooper.


July | Trooper Brandee E. Williamson, Trooper Evelyn T. Wyse

Congratulations to Trooper Brandee E. Williamson and Trooper Evelyn T. Wyse for being selected as co-recipients for the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for July 2020.

On July 18, 2020, Williamson responded to back up Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputies for a traffic stop on SR 5. The stop was conducted in reference to a BOLO for an armed robbery suspect who committed the robbery of an iPhone at gun point in Key West, Florida. The suspect fled after initially stopping and Williamson assumed the lead role in the pursuit. Wyse joined the pursuit as back up along with Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputies.

After conducting a precision immobilization technique and the use of spike strips, the suspect vehicle stopped. Gun fire was exchanged between the suspect, two Deputies, Wyse, and Williamson, wounding the suspect. The suspect’s weapon malfunctioned, and he was taken into custody.

They are highly commended for their exemplary actions working together to apprehend the fleeing felon. Wyse and Williamson are true assets to the Florida Highway Patrol, and they exemplify what it is to be a Florida State Trooper.


August | Corporal Tiffany Jateff

Congratulations to Corporal Tiffany Jateff for being selected as the recipient for the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for August 2020.

On August 9, 2020, Jateff was traveling in her personal vehicle on Interstate 95 in Volusia County, when she observed a traffic crash. The crashed vehicle drove into the woods and was on fire with the driver still in the vehicle. Jateff stopped her vehicle and approached the scene. With the assistance of bystanders, Jateff removed the driver from the vehicle and pulled him away from the burning vehicle. Jateff proceeded to assess the driver’s injuries until she was relieved by emergency medical personnel.

Jateff is to be commended for her actions. Jateff placed herself in great danger and risked her own life to save another. Jateff is a true asset to the Florida Highway Patrol, and she exemplifies what it is to be a Florida State Trooper.


September | Trooper Tara Crescenzi

Congratulations to Trooper Tara Crescenzi for being selected as the recipient for the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for September 2020.

On September 26, 2020, while off-duty traveling in her personally owned vehicle on State Road 417, Crescenzi approached traffic stopped due to a vehicle crash. Crescenzi immediately exited her vehicle to provide assistance.  Crescenzi observed a heavily damaged motorcycle in the lane of travel. Crescenzi observed the driver of the motorcycle lying face down approximately 100 feet down an embankment from the crash site.

Crescenzi descended the embankment and found that the driver had shallow breathing and severe trauma to his arm and legs. Crescenzi observed the unresponsive driver had his backpack wrapped around his neck causing his airway to be restricted.  Crescenzi attempted to loosen the strap, and then she was able to cut the strap with a seatbelt cutter provided by a responding Deputy. Then with the assistance of two off-duty nurses who arrived to help, Crescenzi instructed everyone to rotate the driver using a “Log Roll” technique to further open his airway. Crescenzi then assisted the Deputy in applying a tourniquet to the badly damaged leg. Orange County Fire Rescue arrived on scene and began to assess and treat the driver.

After EMS arrived to transport the driver to the hospital, Crescenzi returned to the roadway to ensure that non-witnesses continued their travels and made sure the roadway was clear. Crescenzi remained on scene until the responding Florida Highway Patrol unit arrived to conduct the crash investigation.

Crescenzi displayed proficiency in her training and the ability to quickly assess the situation and render aid to the critically injured driver. Crescenzi is a true asset to the Florida Highway Patrol, and she exemplifies what it is to be a Florida State Trooper.


October | Trooper David Smith, Trooper Brian Clary, Trooper Christopher Folsom

Congratulations to Trooper David Smith, Trooper Brian Clary and Trooper Christopher Folsom for being selected as co-recipients for the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for October 2020.

On October 29, 2020, Smith, Folsom, and Clary were on Interstate 10 near mile marker 254, when Smith observed a crash involving five vehicles. One of the vehicles was struck from behind by a tractor trailer, pushing it off the road and into the tree line where it caught fire and became engulfed in flames.

As they all approached the burning vehicle, they utilized their fire extinguishers to beat back the flames. The driver’s foot was trapped in tangled metal and he was unable to get out on his own. Working together, Smith, Folsom and Clary, were able to pull the driver out and carry him away from the wreckage. The driver had severe injuries, especially to his head. Smith tended to his wounds and continued to care for him until EMS arrived.

They placed themselves in danger and risked their lives to save the life of another. Each of their quick response and immediate actions saved the driver, who is now recovering. They are true asset to the Florida Highway Patrol, and they exemplify what it is to be a Florida State Trooper.


November | Trooper Bernex Vincent

Congratulations to Trooper Bernex Vincent for being selected as the recipient for the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for November 2020.

On November 22, 2020, Vincent responded to a traffic crash with injuries on Interstate 95. Upon arrival to the scene, Vincent encountered a vehicle with the unconscious driver entrapped and the engine compartment engulfed in flames. Vincent retrieved his fire extinguisher from his vehicle and attempted to contain the flames until the Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue arrived. The driver was extricated from the vehicle and transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Battalion Chief, Chief Gregory May, stated that Trooper Vincent’s quick arrival and actions were paramount in saving the life of the driver.  Vincent is to be commended for his actions. Vincent placed himself in great danger and risked his own life to save another. Vincent is a true asset to the Florida Highway Patrol, and he exemplifies what it is to be a Florida State Trooper.


December | Trooper Norbens Luc, Trooper Alexander Monte De Oca Viera

Congratulations to Trooper Norbens Luc and Trooper Alexander Monte De Oca Viera for being selected as co-recipients for the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for December 2020.

On December 29, 2020, Luc and De Oca Viera responded to Northbound Interstate 95 for a report of a male subject sitting on the Cypress Creek Road overpass. Upon arrival, De Oca Viera made contact with the subject who threatened to jump into oncoming traffic. While De Oca Viera distracted the subject by engaging him in conversation, Luc was able to position himself and grab the subject, pulling him off the overpass ledge.

Luc and De Oca Viera are to be commended for their actions. They worked in tandem with each other to save the life of another. They are true assets to the Florida Highway Patrol, and they exemplify what it is to be a Florida State Trooper.