Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Two receive county commendation for rescuing man from crash

Real estate agent Rich Solkin, left, and Ed Caum, Pasco’s interim public communications manager, were traveling separately on State Road 54 when they witnessed the one-car accident.


Real estate agent Rich Solkin, left, and Ed Caum, Pasco’s interim public communications manager, were traveling separately on State Road 54 when they witnessed the one-car accident.

LAND O'LAKES — Ed Caum was driving to his job at Pasco's tourism office when the black vehicle zipped by, weaving through traffic. Rich Solkin, a real estate agent, was taking his son to school when it "passed me like I was at a complete standstill. He was probably doing over 100."

What happened next unfolded in seconds. It brought the men together as rescuers and led to the arrest of a suspected drug dealer.

In the end, Caum and Solkin received citations from the county for their efforts.

The vehicle, a Toyota Scion, whipped by at about 9 a.m. on Aug. 28. As it traveled west on State Road 54, west of U.S. 41, it moved to the left lane to avoid a collision. Then suddenly it veered back to stay clear of the median. The driver apparently over-compensated. The Scion darted across two lanes of traffic and hurled toward a drainage ditch on the highway's north side. It flipped and landed on its roof, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report.

Solkin, a former fire chief from Linwood, N.J., saw the accident and pulled over. He told his 8-year-old to wait in the car while he tramped through the knee-high grass toward the smoking vehicle, which slid deeper into the ditch.

Caum pulled up at about the same time.

"I guess it was my military training," he said.

Solkin called 911 while Caum, who spent 16 years in the Army and now works as Pasco's interim public communications manager, waded through the muddy water toward the driver's side.

"It was probably about 18 inches deep," he said.

The driver's door was jammed, but the passenger side opened. Inside, the compartment was filling with mud and water. He pulled out the man, Jeremy Grove, 22, of Tampa, who was wedged in, and handed him over to Solkin, who helped him up the slippery embankment.

Solkin retrieved a first aid kit to tend to a gash in one of Grove's legs. Caum grabbed a fire extinguisher from his car and sprayed the vehicle's undercarriage and engine.

The man was grateful to both and seemed coherent. He returned to the car to retrieve some envelopes, but Solkin urged him to stay seated in case he had a head or back injury.

Then, it was too late to return. Troopers pulled up. As they examined the car and envelopes, they found ecstasy, hydrocodone and drug paraphernalia, FHP said.

Grove was treated for his injuries and jailed. Along with three traffic violations, he was charged with numerous counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, trafficking in a controlled substance and possession of drugs with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver. As of Friday, he was being held at the Land O'Lakes jail in lieu of $188,750 bail.

"No matter what he might have done, he's somebody's son," Caum said.

Solkin said other cars continued past, but he decided to stop because the man needed help.

County commissioners agreed. Last week, they approved a resolution commending Solkin and Caum for their "outstanding teamwork and bravery."

"I just acted on instinct," Caum said. "I hope he (Grove) gets the help he needs."

Rich Shopes can be reached at or (727) 869-6236.

Two receive county commendation for rescuing man from crash 09/27/13 [Last modified: Friday, September 27, 2013 7:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Why did Debbie Wasserman Schultz keep paying tech expert suspected of stealing House computers?


    The following is from the Miami Herald:

  2. GOP senators blink on a big chance to repeal 'Obamacare'


    WASHINGTON — After seven years of emphatic campaign promises, Senate Republicans demonstrated Wednesday they don't have the stomach to repeal "Obamacare" when it really counts, as the Senate voted 55-45 to reject legislation undoing major portions of Barack Obama's law without replacing it.

    U.S. Sen. Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) talks with reporters as he walks to the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in Washington, DC. [Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]
  3. Rick Baker's debate answer revives painful St. Pete controversy


    ST. PETERSBURG — Former Mayor Bill Foster fired one of his top administrators, Goliath Davis III, six years ago for disobeying an order to attend the funeral of a slain police officer.

    St. Petersburg police officers stand by two caskets before the beginning of the 2011 funeral services for Sgt. Thomas Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz at the First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg. [DIRK SHADD   |  Times]
  4. Plan your weekend July 28-30: Comic Con, Lady Antebellum, Margarita Wars, Tampa's Fourth Friday


    Plan your weekend

    Geek out

    Tampa Bay Comic Con: The fan convention returns to the Tampa Convention Center this weekend, bringing actors Val Kilmer, Kate Beckinsale, Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek's Lt. Uhura), Khary Payton (Ezekiel in The Walking Dead) and the …

    Ibri Day poses for a photo at opening day of the 2015 Tampa Bay Comic Con at the Tampa Convention Center. (Friday, July 31, 2015.) [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  5. Editorial: Trump assaults rule of law by attacking attorney general


    Jeff Sessions was a terrible choice for attorney general, and the policies he has pursued in his brief tenure — cracking down on immigrants, bullying sheriffs, prosecuting low-level offenders to the max — are counterproductive. But the stinging personal attacks President Donald Trump leveled at Sessions this …

    The stinging personal attacks President Donald Trump leveled at Attorney General Jess Sessions this week assault the integrity of the Department of Justice and the rule of law.