FHP: Dementia one of leading causes of wrong-way driving
A wrong-way driver was stopped on the Turnpike in Lake County before a tragedy could happen, Florida Highway Patrol troopers said. A report said the driver may have been suffering from dementia, which numbers show is one of the leading causes of wrong-way crashes. The incident involving the 76-year-old man was caught on camera. Early Friday evening, on the Turnpike in Lake County, troopers were in a mad dash to stop the driver. “He’s at a high rate of speed going through the SunPass lane. Far left lane, coming up the toll,” the trooper told a dispatcher. A toll booth worker called troopers when she saw the driver get onto the Turnpike from an exit ramp in Howie-in-the-Hills. It triggered an immediate response from troopers, who were nearby and managed to cut him off before he could crash into someone. A trooper wrote in a report, “I noticed he didn’t really know what was going on,” and “I asked him if his wife lives in Florida and he had said she passed away, but his wife was actually alive and was in the middle of filling out a missing persons’ report with the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.” The trooper asked the driver for his keys and said he gave his shoe instead. Troopers were told by a relative that the driver had been suffering from signs of dementia. The driver was reunited with his wife at a Leesburg hospital. An FHP sergeant said that since the agency began tracking wrong-way drivers two years ago, they received 452 reports in Central Florida. Dementia is the second leading cause of wrong-way driving incidents behind drunk driving. The next day, a trooper stopped a man, also with dementia, who was driving the wrong way on Interstate 4 in Volusia County.
Oregon State Police Fallen Trooper Memorial Dedication
The finish line has finally been crossed. The Oregon State Police Fallen Trooper Memorial is completed. The memorial is located in the Capital Mall State Park, directly across the street from the State Capitol. It is a four foot high black basalt wall, quarried from an area near Madras. It is made up of eight stones connected in a U shape. The names of our fallen comrades are engraved on black granite plaques and highlighted with gold lettering. In the center of the memorial is a gold granite facsimile of the State of Oregon, with a black star marking the location each of our fallen troopers made their ultimate sacrifice. The highlight of the memorial is the motto under which these fine troopers made their final stand: They shall neither shun responsibility, nor shrink from duty in the face of danger. The dedication ceremony took place on October 1st at twilight. The service was a simple candlelight vigil, with a member of the Oregon State Police Honor Guard reading the names of the fallen, then lighting a candle and placing a blue rose at the base of the memorial. It was simple, dignified, and fitting. The ceremony also included the singing of the National Anthem by our own Sgt. Yvette Sheppard, and the playing of Amazing Grace by the Portland Police Highland Guard. The Ceremony was attended by a number of Oregon dignitaries. Governor Kate Brown and Senator Betsy Johnson both gave meaningful and sincere speeches. The family of Trooper Scott Lyons also gave a moving tribute. The ceremony was directed by Lt. Cari Boyd, President of the OSP Fallen Trooper Memorial Board. The ceremony was attended by three former OSP Superintendents, and current Superintendent Travis Hampton who also gave a wonderfully thoughtful speech. Several other organizations were represented including The Oregon Fallen Badge Foundation, Washington State Patrol, and Oregon Concerns of Police Survivors. One of our special guests was Trooper Robert Purdy of the Kentucky State Police and member of their Honor Guard. Trooper Purdy is the grandson of our own Lt. Harold Berg, who was killed in the line of duty on May 19, 1975 during a search and rescue mission. Trooper Purdy presented the candle and rose to the memorial when his grandfather’s name was read. Trooper Kelli Howes of the Washington State Patrol Honor Guard participated in the dedication ceremony as well. Also in attendance were many family members of those whose names are enshrined on the wall. The process for this memorial was the brainchild of former OSP Superintendent Tim McLain. He and Retired Deputy Superintendent Greg Willeford formed a committee to explore the possibility of erecting a memorial to honor those troopers that made the ultimate sacrifice while serving the citizens of Oregon. This quickly became The Oregon State Police Fallen Trooper Memorial Foundation with tax-exempt status and the project was off. A design and location were determined, and the approval process began. It was decided from the beginning that local resources and labor would be used whenever possible. The basalt was quarried from Madras, the granite for the roman column was quarried from Washington, and the artist, architect, and contractor are all from Oregon. After permits and approvals were obtained, the process of fundraising began. This memorial was built using 100% private donations. The only public asset involved was the donation of the property the memorial sits on by the State Parks Department. Fundraising was slow and difficult. Most funds were obtained through several dinner and auction events, 10K Memorial Fun Runs, and direct donations from the public and several charitable foundations, including the OSPOA. OSP retirees were found to be very reliable sources of funds and help. Donations from the membership was disappointingly low. Total expenditures brought the cost of the memorial to about $250,000. This has all been paid for and the Foundation owns the memorial free and clear. This is not the end of the road, however. We are responsible for maintaining the memorial and are required by the Parks Department to keep an insurance policy on the memorial in case of damage. We will be hosting another dinner and auction after the new year, and are actively seeking donations to keep the memorial beautiful for centuries to come. This is where you can help. The OSP Fallen Trooper Memorial Foundation needs your donations. The process for doing this is very simple. You can make a payroll deduction every month from your paycheck. Contact payroll or your local Honor Guard member. You fill out a one page form and indicate the amount and it is done automatically. If every member of the OSP gave $5 a month, we would be in a position to always have the funds needed for maintenance, cleaning, and additions when necessary. Please give this serious consideration. The memorial was specifically designed to be simple, dignified, and timeless. The symbolism of the broken roman column represents an unfinished mission. The bench is provided so the public and family members have a comfortable, quiet place to contemplate and remember the people whose names are engraved in gold. They were fathers, sons, grandfathers, husbands, brothers, sisters, and daughters. They all left behind a legacy worth celebrating and commemorating. A lot of people need to be thanked for their endless contribution of time and effort. It was decided from the very beginning of this project, however, that this was about the names on the wall, not the people and organizations building it. So a simple “thank you” to those of you that need to be thanked. You know who you are. If you have any questions regarding the memorial, or can make contributions in the form of money or goods and services, feel free to contact me and I will get you in touch with the right people. This is now your memorial. Let’s take care of it together.
Girl Scouts plant memorial tree for trooper killed in line of duty
When Girl Scout Troop 50410 needed to plant a tree for the final portion of its tree badge, the scouts knew exactly where they wanted to plant it and why. In a small ceremony, outside of the Elyria Post of the Highway Patrol, 3800 Cletus Drive, four members of the troop planted a magnolia tree and placed a commemorative marker in memory of fallen Trooper Kenny Velez on Nov. 7. Katy Andrijowych, leader of the troop, said that planting the tree was the last part in the scouts receiving their tree badge. The other requirements for the badge included learning the different types of trees, the different parts of trees and identifying trees. The girls completed the previous portions of the requirements during a daylong visit to the Holden Arboretum in Kirtland. The arboretum also supplied the magnolia tree that the girls would plant. When the scouts were asked where they wanted to plant their tree, they decided within seconds, Andrijowych said. “The final part of the tree badge is to plant a tree,” she said. “The girls chose to put the tree here in memory of Trooper Velez. It took them about 30 seconds to decide; all on their own.” Velez’ niece, Brooke Bratovich, was formerly a member of Troop 50410. Morgan Bosworth, 12, of Amherst, holds the rank of Cadette with the scouts. She said that the troop hoped that the tree would serve as a reminder to the community that Velez was loved and would be missed. “Once we found out he died, we wanted to do something to show that we were sad that he died,” Morgan said.
Retired New Jersey State Trooper surprises girlfriend with proposal at Eagles game
Even though the Eagles didn't win, it was still a celebration for all New Jersey State Police. Retired Trooper Brian Malast surprised his girlfriend and proposed before Sunday's game at MetLife Stadium. Malast was paralyzed from the neck down in a car accident while on the job in 2005. Malast got a little help from his fellow troopers to pull off the surprise in front of their family and friends. Even though the Eagles didn't win, it was still a celebration for all New Jersey State Police. And his girlfriend said yes! Congrats to the couple.