MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Florida Highway Patrol trooper who was seriously injured while conducting a speed enforcement detail on the Dolphin Expressway earlier this year finally got a chance in person to thank the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue first responders who helped save his life.
“There’s nothing I can say that would tell you how much gratitude I have and love for you guys,” said Trooper Carlos Rosario as he met with them at Healthsouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Miami.
“You guys were amazing, seriously,” he said, “You guys saved me.”
On March 17th, Rosario was standing on the shoulder of the Dolphin Expressway near 107th Avenue, operating a radar gun, when an out of control car careened into him.
Investigators estimate the driver was speeding at more than 80 mph.
Rosario, who was thrown 30 feet on impact, was barely alive when Miami-Dade Fire Rescue arrived. He was airlifted to the Ryder Trauma Center where he underwent emergency surgeries for his face, spine, and legs.
“A lot of broken bones and a lot of exposed tissue, his face was pretty pretty bad,” recalled Flight medic Enrique Gonzalez.
Rosario said he will always remember exactly how long it took to walk again.
“Two months, two weeks and six days after the incident,” said Rosario.
Nearly six months later, Rosario is finally back on his feet.
“You guys will always be, you know, my brothers,” he said. “You guys are my angels.”
Rosario says his experience was living – if just barely living – proof of the dangers of texting and driving.
Hugo Olivares, the driver who struck Rosario, was reportedly texting at the time.
Investigators say Olivares looked up just in time to see the trooper, attempted to swerve, but sent his car into a spin, knocking Rosario into the air before ramming two Florida Highway Patrol squad cars.
Olivares, 26, is charged with a felony charge of reckless driving causing serious bodily harm.