A Florida Highway Patrol trooper was hospitalized with serious injuries after a vehicle slammed into him while he was investigating another accident on a congested interstate.
Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Mithil Patel, 31, was speaking with a motorist, Rony Bottex, while on Interstate 95, NBC-2 reported. Local news outlets shared footage of the crash (warning: disturbing), as seen below:
EXCLUSIVE VIDEO – A heroic state trooper is struck by an out of control vehicle after he appears to push a man to safety on i-95 near Hobe Sound.WARNING: viewer discretion is advised.http://bit.ly/2BMpPO3
تم النشر بواسطة CBS 12 News في الإثنين، ٣ ديسمبر ٢٠١٨
Patel was hit by a black Audi model after that vehicle was rear-ended by a truck. It spun out of control and hit Patel, according to video footage posted by local news outlets.
Patel flew into the air and hit the ground before other first responders rushed to help him.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
A WPEC news crew was filming the crash site that Patel had responded to.
Patel, in the video, appeared to push Bottex out of the way to avoid the Audi. The front portion of the car knocked Bottex out of view.
Bottex praised Patel, telling WPTV that “if [Patel] wasn’t there, if the officer wasn’t there, I’d be dead.”
Bottex, a 65-year-old grandfather who lives in Port St. Lucie, is on crutches and has a knee brace after the crash, the Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.
He added to the paper: “What he did for me, he doesn’t do it because he’s a state trooper, he doesn’t for his job.”
“He was there to protect a person he doesn’t know. I don’t believe anybody would do the same,” he added.
WPEC reported that Patel was “injured but alert.” He’s in good condition and recovering at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach. Bottex was also sent to another hospital.
The driver of the Chevrolet Express truck was identified as 43-year-old Clifford Perry, and the driver of the Audi was identified as 24-year-old Jenna Baxter.
“I heard the car, boom! The car spins, and then he just pushed me away,” Bottex recalled of the crash, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
He has a message for Patel and his family: “I want to be your family because you’re a good person … It’s not what you do, it’s that’s the way you are.”
It’s not clear if either driver will face charges in the incident. The crash remains under investigation.
Other details about the incident are not clear.
Traffic Deaths Down Across US in 2018
U.S. traffic deaths fell 3.1 percent in the first six months of 2018, according to preliminary figures released in October 2018, Reuters reported.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that 2017 traffic deaths fell by 1.8 percent to 37,133 after traffic deaths rose sharply in the previous two years, according to final figures.
The U.S. traffic fatality rate fell to 1.08 deaths per 100 million miles traveled for the first half of 2018.
The fatality rate in 2017 was 1.16 million deaths per 100 million miles traveled—the second highest rate since 2008.
“This is good news and bad news,” said Deborah Hersman, CEO of the National Safety Council, CNBC reported. “The total number of fatalities is not getting worse, but the situation is not getting better.”
Hersman cited distracted driving and higher speed limits for the number.
“There are a number of states that have raised speed limits, some now have stretches at 80 or 85 miles per hour,” she said in the CNBC report.
In Texas, for example, she estimated that traffic fatalities jumped 7 percent from 2015 to 2017, in part due to higher speed limits in the state.
“We know it’s happening even though distracted driving data is hard to come by,” she said of drivers using smartphones while behind the wheel. “Police reports on accidents often don’t report if the driver was distracted and in many accidents, people don’t self-report themselves.”