Major Ernesto Duarte
Florida Highway Patrol
For Release August 15, 2006:
Tallahassee – The Florida Highway Patrol is pleased to announce that Troopers Carlos R. Austin and Jorge L. Lopez-Torres have been selected as the Florida Highway Patrol’s co-recipients of the 2006 Trooper of the Year award.
Trooper Austin and Trooper Lopez-Torres will be officially recognized as FHP Troopers of the Year by Governor Jeb Bush and Cabinet members during today’s Florida Cabinet Meeting. The Florida Petroleum Council has sponsored the Trooper of the Year Award since 1965. The award is presented annually to an outstanding trooper(s) in recognition of acts of heroism or exceptional performance of duties.
Trooper Austin and Trooper Lopez-Torres were selected for this prestigious award based on the following incident: On May 10, 2005, at approximately 10:00 AM, Trooper Austin and Trooper Lopez-Torres responded to a head-on crash that occurred on the Sawgrass Expressway involving a pick-up truck and a dump truck. The collision occurred approximately .1 mile south of State Road 870 in Broward County. Both vehicles ended up submerged in a canal located adjacent to the roadway. With the assistance of several passersby, Trooper Austin and Trooper Lopez-Torres entered the water to free the dump truck driver from the vehicle and rescued him. CPR was successfully administered to the victim prior to the arrival of emergency services personnel. The driver was subsequently transported to an area hospital in critical condition.
It is clearly evident that Trooper Austin and Trooper Lopez-Torres placed themselves in great personal danger to save the life of a victim who found himself in great peril. Had they not quickly acted, the consequences would have certainly been grave.
Their heroic actions were in the highest tradition of the Florida Highway Patrol.
Trooper Austin is a four-year veteran of the FHP assigned to Troop K-Plantation. Trooper Lopez-Torres is a seven-year veteran, assigned to Troop K-Plantation.