TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- On Dec. 3, 2018, Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Mithil Patel was flying through the air after pushing a man out of harm’s way at a highway crash scene and then getting struck by an out-of-control car.
On Dec. 3, 2019, — Tuesday — Patel was named FHP’s Trooper of the Year in a resolution passed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet in Tallahassee.
DeSantis later took to Twitter to further acknowledge what Patel did, “for heroic action in service and protection. Your recent promotion is duly deserved," the governor tweeted.
Patel is now a corporal with FHP.
It was a busy Monday morning crash scene along Interstate 95 in Hobe Sound in Martin County when Patel was speaking to Rony Bottex, 65, as both men stood outside their cars. Suddenly a passing sedan spun out of control and barreled toward the two men.
Sun Sentinel news partner WPEC-CBS12 was at the crash scene and recorded the incident as Patel pushed Bottex out of the way before being struck and thrown in the air by the Audi that veered off the travel lanes after getting rear-ended by a van.
When the two men were later brought together at a news conference, Bottex said Patel saved his life.
“We are not friends, we are family,” Bottex told reporters.
Patel spent about nine months recovering from his injuries before returning to full duty.
“I am proud to serve with dedicated troopers like Corporal Mithil Patel, who selflessly and courageously put himself in harm’s way to save an innocent bystander," said Colonel Gene Spaulding, director of the Florida Highway Patrol in a statement.
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