Thursday, April 26, 2018
Public safety

Restoration project gives new luster to Florida Highway Patrol memorial in Tampa

TAMPA — It was a call that Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve Gaskins didn’t want to have to make.

For months, Gaskins had overseen the restoration of a monument to fallen Patrol members that stands outside the Troop C headquarters on North McKinley Drive. A gleaming black granite slab etched with the names of the 45 troopers killed in the line of service was lowered into place last spring.

Then came number 46, and Gaskins had to call the engraver to add the name of Sgt. William Trampas Bishop, a 30-year veteran of the agency who was killed while standing outside his patrol car at a crash scene on Interstate 75 in Alachua County

Fellow troopers, family members of the fallen and members of the public were scheduled to gather Tuesday evening to dedicate the restored monument and pay tribute to the men and women listed there. They include the five members of Troop C who have died in the line of duty.

"It’s taken a while to get it done, but I’m very proud of it," Gaskins said. "It’s a very poignant reflection of the sacrifices of the members listed on the wall and a good reminder of what our troopers face every day."

The original memorial features a metal cutout of a trooper’s figure to represent the fallen. That has aged well, but the original granite slab had become weathered and cracked and had no more room for additional names.

Along with the new granite, the restored memorial includes fresh landscaping by Samuel P. McCranie, the son of a trooper who completed the work for his Eagle Scout project. The memorial now features a bar code visitors can scan with their smart phones to navigate to the FHP website where all of the fallen troopers and their stories are listed.

Private donations paid for the restoration.

The new granite includes another necessary feature that Gaskins acknowledged will eventually be needed: blank space.

Tuesday’s ceremony is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Troop C headquarters, 11305 North McKinley Drive in Tampa. The public is invited.

Contact Tony Marrero at [email protected] or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.

Killed in the line of duty

Here are the five members of the Florida Highway Patrol’s Troop C who have died in the line of duty:

Trooper John C. Hagerty

March 18, 1970

Hagerty, 44, was piloting a traffic plane over Lakeland when he was struck by a low-flying U.S. Navy jet. He’d worked for the Highway Patrol for 13 years and was stationed in Frostproof, Punta Gorda, Stuart and Orlando.

Trooper Kenneth E. Flynt

Jan. 1, 1976

Flynt, 52, was shot after he opened his door to a neighbor seeking protection from an armed gunman trying to steal her car. He’d been in the Highway Patrol for 19 years and was stationed in Tampa.

Lt. Benedict James Thomas

June 9, 1989

Thomas, 32, was struck by a car while walking back to his vehicle after investigating an abandoned vehicle on Interstate 75 in Tampa. He’d worked for the Highway Patrol for 11 years and was stationed in Tampa and Tallahassee.

Trooper James Bradford-Jean Crooks

May 19, 1998

Crooks was shot in Pasco County while trying to apprehend Hank Earl Carr, who was fleeing north after fatally shooting Tampa police detectives Rick Childers and Randy Bell. Crooks had been with the Highway Patrol for just nine months.

Trooper Chelsea Renee Richard

May 3, 2014

Richard was struck and killed by a vehicle while investigating a crash on I-75 south of Ocala. Richard was speaking with a tow truck driver and a person involved in the crash when all three were struck. Richard and the tow truck driver died at the scene and the third person died at a hospital. Richard had worked for the Highway Patrol for nine years and had a four-year-old son.

Comments
St. Pete police: Man who stole car with baby inside arrested

St. Pete police: Man who stole car with baby inside arrested

ST. PETERSBURG — A man accused of stealing a car with a baby inside earlier this week was arrested Thursday morning when officers spotted him in another stolen car, according to St. Petersburg police.Rashad Webb, 19, was arrested at about 2 a.m. afte...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Long wait at Wingstop ends in brawl, hot oil and second degree burns

Long wait at Wingstop ends in brawl, hot oil and second degree burns

TAMPA — A customer visited Wingstop on Sunday night to pick up his order. What happened next was off-menu:Robert Williams said he suffered second-degree burns on his back and legs after a Wingstop employee threw hot oil on him during a scuffle.Willia...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Details emerge in fiery crash that killed prominent Moffitt doctor

Details emerge in fiery crash that killed prominent Moffitt doctor

TEMPLE TERRACE — Investigators say an orange sports car was moving at about 90 mph when it ran a red light and broadsided a prominent doctor’s car last month on Fowler Avenue. The impact caused Dr. Charles Canaan Williams’ Acura to catch fire almost ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Police announce two more arrests in St. Pete strip club shooting

Police announce two more arrests in St. Pete strip club shooting

ST. PETERSBURG — Two more arrests were made recently in connection with the April 2 shooting death of a man outside an unlicensed adult entertainment venue on Fourth Street S, police said.Rodriguez Green, 24, of Largo and Darius Trennell Collins, 23,...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hernando High student accused of threatening to shoot up school

Hernando High student accused of threatening to shoot up school

BROOKSVILLE — A 17-year-old Hernando High School student was arrested Wednesday for threatening to shoot people at the school, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.The student was serving a suspension at the time of the incident, deputie...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Orlando man sought in Interstate 4 carjackings captured in Tampa

Orlando man sought in Interstate 4 carjackings captured in Tampa

TAMPA — A 43-year-old Orlando man who was being sought in a string of carjackings along Interstate 4 was captured on Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Majar L. Jones, 43, was considered armed and dangerous and the subjec...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Florida has one of the highest rates of fatal hit-and-run crashes, study finds

Florida has one of the highest rates of fatal hit-and-run crashes, study finds

Florida is among the top three states with the highest per capita rates of fatal hit-and-run crashes, a new study published on Thursday by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found.From 2006 to 2016, the organization examined hit-and-run crashes in...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Florida man pours gasoline and sets girlfriend on fire, police say

Florida man pours gasoline and sets girlfriend on fire, police say

GAINESVILLE — A 55-year-old Florida man is accused of pouring gasoline on his girlfriend and setting her on fire.Gainesville police arrest report says Roosevelt Kitchen was charged with attempted murder. He was being held Thursday on a $1 million bon...
Updated: 6 hours ago
FHP identifies driver in crash that killed

FHP identifies driver in crash that killed "smiling" teen

TRINITY — Friends said what they’ll remember the most about Lillia Morris is that she was always smiling.The 17-year-old Mitchell High School junior was killed Tuesday when a sport-utility vehicle ran a red light on State Road 54 and slammed into the...
Published: 04/26/18
Pasco deputies a hit on ‘LivePD’ television show

Pasco deputies a hit on ‘LivePD’ television show

TRINITY — On any given night, the A&E television show Live PD showcases law enforcement officers from a handful of cities across the country. It gives viewers an unfiltered police ride-along from the safety of their own couches and a peek into how of...
Published: 04/26/18