MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Police have released bodycam video from officers recorded the morning a Florida State Trooper was struck and critically injured by an allegedly drunk driver.
Trooper Daniel Cruz, a husband and the father of a newborn at the time, was hit by a car that knocked him flying in the air as he worked a routine accident involving two other vehicles at Okeechobee Road by the Palmetto Expressway in the early morning hours of December 10, 2017.
Bodycam video of the suspect, 26-year-old John Bencosme, shows him rambling, with slurred speech at times.
In a roadside sobriety test, Bencosme stumbles repeatedly when asked to walk heel to toe in a straight line, and is unable to stand on one leg without losing his balance.
“Sorry, sir,” Bencosme says to the officer as he loses his footing during one part of the sobriety test.
Bencosme said he was driving home from an art event when the trooper, “jumped out in front of me.”
He told officers at the scene that he had attended the Miami Dade College Police Academy and aspired to be a cop.
“I’m a (expletive) bad guy now? If I don’t get hired by the FHP for this (expletive), (expletive), bro,” he said.
Bencosme said he tried to help the trooper, who suffered head, back and leg injuries, and had to be air rescued to Ryder Trauma Center.
“I was like ‘you, okay, man? I’m here for you, I’m here for you’ and I told him to just lay flat and wait for fire rescue,” Bencosme said.
On camera, an officer asks Bencosme to provide a blood sample.
“Tonight?” Bencosme asked in response.
“Right now. We can call fire rescue to come by as part of this investigation,” the officer explained.
Bencosme agreed to voluntarily give the blood sample. It revealed his blood alcohol level was .20, or two and a half times the legal limit.
“You’re under arrest,” an officer tells him.
“For what?” Bencosme asks.
“For driving under the influence,” The officer says.
“I told you I had one beer!” Bencosme declared, and began crying.
Trooper Cruz underwent multiple surgeries for his injuries and continues a program of rigorous physical therapy.
It is expected to be a considerable time before he is able to return to work.
Bencosme, if convicted of DUI causing serious bodily harm, faces a minimum, mandatory sentence of four years and three months in prison.