Thursday, December 14, 2017
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.

Tampa police seek ‘person of interest’ in Dec. 3 homicide

Tampa police seek ‘person of interest’ in Dec. 3 homicide

TAMPA — Police are seeking a "person of interest" who they believe has information about a Dec. 3 drive-by shooting that killed a 22-year-old man.Police are searching for Anan Motilal, 25. He stands about 5-foot-10 and weighs 180 pounds. He may have ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Pinellas Park officer stuns middle school student with Taser

PINELLAS PARK — A school resource officer stunned a middle school student with a Taser while trying to break up a fight between her and another female student on Thursday, police said.Neither the Pinellas Park officer nor the students involved in the...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bob’s Carpet and Flooring heir was source of family strife before arrest

Bob’s Carpet and Flooring heir was source of family strife before arrest

An heir to a local flooring company charged with failing to report the death of a young woman last year has a troubled criminal history and was a source of strife in his family business, according to court records.Robert Butler III, 52, was arrested ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Horrified friends watch screaming woman driven to her death in Plant City

Horrified friends watch screaming woman driven to her death in Plant City

PLANT CITY — Jonathon Adams heard a scream, "like a dog getting run over by a car," then saw a minivan come tearing around the corner with a woman he knew dangling out of the passenger side.It was the start of a deadly sequence of events Dec. 8 that ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Dade City man turns himself in on warrants for Polk armed robbery

Dade City man turns himself in on warrants for Polk armed robbery

DADE CITY — A 25-year-old man wanted in connection with the attempted robbery of a taxi driver in Lakeland turned himself in late Wednesday night after being prompted by his mother, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Edner Dely of Dade Ci...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Deputies: Fleeing suspect shoots, injures dog as he runs through yards

DOVER — While fleeing from deputies, a man shot a dog inside a fenced yard Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies said they were attempting to pull over a vehicle that might have been stolen near Milagro Court and Bl...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Amtrak train strikes, kills 60-year-old woman in Lakeland

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of a 60-year-old woman who was hit by an Amtrak train on Thursday.The woman was struck at 12:30 p.m. in the railroad intersection of Highway 92 East and Fairway Avenue in Lakeland, deputies ...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Palm Harbor woman, 23, killed while crossing Seminole Boulevard

SEMINOLE — A 23-year-old Palm Harbor woman was fatally injured when she was struck by a sport-utility vehicle while crossing Seminole Boulevard on Wednesday night, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.The incident took place at about 8:4...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Second Ruskin man sought in theft of cell tower equipment that interrupted service

TAMPA —The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has obtained a warrant for the arrest of a second suspect in the theft of batteries from cell phone towers that interrupted phone service and the 911 emergency call system.Investigators are looking for ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Florida Missing Child Alert canceled for Jacksonville boy, 2

Florida Missing Child Alert canceled for Jacksonville boy, 2

A Jacksonville boy, 2, who was reported missing early Thursday morning, has been found safe.A Florida Missing Child Alert has been canceled for Legend Jones, who had last been seen in the 1900 block of Fouraker Road in Jacksonville, according to the ...
Published: 12/14/17