Florida Troopers Honored
Four Florida Highway Patrol troopers were honored for courageous and heroic actions taken during the course of their duties.
Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet approved a a resolution recognizing Trooper Curtis Vaughn as the Florida Highway Patrol “Trooper of the Year”.
“Trooper Vaughn displayed outstanding gallantry in the apprehension of a suspect committing a criminal act. I am honored to serve with dedicated and courageous troopers like Trooper Vaughn, who selfishly put their lives on the line each day to protect the residents of our great state,” said FHP Colonel Gene Spaulding.
On April 28, 2019, Trooper Vaughn responded to a request from the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office regarding an active pursuit where the suspect had attempted to run over multiple Citrus County deputies. Vaughn and two other troopers intercepted the suspect near U.S. Route 41 in Citrus County with Vaughn assuming the primary position. The GPS tracking device deployed by Vaughn onto the rear of the suspect’s vehicle failed to operate effectively requiring more active intervention techniques. Further complicating the situation was that the driver seemed familiar with FHP pursuit tactics, and that he was driving a Ford F250 truck which is significantly heavier than a police cruiser making pursuit intervention techniques more dangerous to perform. During the pursuit, the suspect fired at least three rounds of ammunition through the rear window of his truck, with one bullet striking and shattering the front windshield of one of the assisting troopers. Trooper Vaughn was fearless in his pursuit despite the gunshots aimed at the troopers and successfully stopped the vehicle resulting in the apprehension of the suspect.
The “Trooper of the Year” award was created in 1965 by the Florida Petroleum Council to recognize Florida Highway Patrol Troopers for the work they do each day to ensure a safer Florida. Congratulations Trooper Vaughn!
On January 13, 2021, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody presented “Back the Blue” awards to Florida Highway Patrol Troopers Brian Clary, Chris Folsom and David Smith for their life-saving actions in rescuing a car crash victim from a burning vehicle.
On October 29, 2020, Troopers Clary, Folsom and Smith responded to a traffic crash on I-10 when a second crash occurred at the scene. That crash resulted in a vehicle being pushed off the roadway – pinning the car between a tractor trailer and a tree. The tractor trailer then caught fire and spread to the vehicle.
The vehicle’s driver, Dwayne Greenhill, was trapped inside the vehicle as it became engulfed in flames. Troopers Clary, Folsom and Smith immediately rushed to Greenhill’s aid and began to extinguish the fire while attempting to rescue Greenhill from the burning vehicle. All three troopers continued to fight the fire until they were able to safely remove Greenhill from danger.
Once out of the vehicle, the troopers administered first aid to Greenhill until paramedics arrived and transported him to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. Because of the immediate and heroic actions of the three troopers, Greenhill made a full recovery and was able to attend the awards ceremony recognizing his heroes.
“I am so proud of the quick thinking and life-saving work of Troopers Brian Clary, Chris Folsom and David Smith at the scene of a traffic crash along I-10 in North Florida. These heroes know first hand the many inherent dangers of responding to a traffic crash and the subsequent dangers of secondary collisions as a result. They did not allow the added personal dangers for everyone in the immediate area to deter them from attending to victims in need,” said Attorney General Moody. Congratulations on a job well done!
January was Move Over month in Florida with the Florida Highway Patrol joining with the Florida Sheriff’s Association, AAA and other groups to promote the law which requires motorists to move over – or to slow down to a speed of 20 mph below the posted speed limit if a driver cannot move over safely – when they approach stopped emergency vehicles.
“Each move-over related crash or citation is not simply a statistic, it represents a first responder or service professional – all with family and loved ones – who was carelessly put in danger while trying to serve and protect Floridians along the roadway,” said DHSMV Executive Director, Terry L. Rhodes. “Please, give law enforcement, first responders, and service and utility professionals space to safely do their jobs by moving over or slowing down – it’s the law, and it could save a life.”
Preliminarily in 2020, there were 159 crashes and over 12,000 citations issued for motorists failing to move over in Florida.