MIAMI, FL — After his near-death experience and “miraculous recovery,” Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Carlos J. Rosario-Flores made a spectacular return to duty.
“Thank you to all of you for your love and support,” Rosario-Flores said, after stepping out of the same green and white Miami-Dade Fire Rescue helicopter that carried him from the scene of a horrific car crash two years ago on St. Patrick’s Day.
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“My family and I never felt alone,” he said.
The trooper was operating a speed gun on St. Patrick’s Day when he was nearly killed by a driver who was allegedly texting behind the wheel during the morning commute in 2017 along the Dolphin Expressway near NW 107 Avenue.
Moments before the crash Rosario-Flores was motioning to a speeding motorist when a second vehicle lost control and struck several of the patrol cars prior to striking Trooper Rosario-Flores, according to a GoFundMe page set up to help the trooper’s family.
“We are honored to welcome Carlos back,” said Lt. Alex Camacho of the Florida Highway Patrol at a welcome back ceremony on Wednesday.
“He was literally bleeding to death in front of our eyes,” recalled Dr. Carl Schulman, who worked on the critically injured trooper.
South Florida first responders celebrated Rosario-Flores’ return to duty, including many of the friends and colleagues who filled an entire section of bleachers at an all-star basketball game in which the injured officer’s son was one of the players and his other son was an assistant coach.
That was when the trooper’s prognosis for recovery was still uncertain.
The GoFundMe raised $77,793 from 861 separate donations, including a generous $12,000 gift from Miami Marlins superfan Laurence Leavy, who is better known by his moniker Marlins Man.
“By the grace of Jesus, I’m back to serve the people of Florida,” declared Rosario-Flores 22 months after the crash and surrounded by his wife, Ana, other family members and fellow troopers from FHP Troop E in Miami.