A Temple Terrace man is being credited with possibly saving the life of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper after he lifted an SUV that had trapped him on Interstate 4 in Tampa on Wednesday.
This occurred after an Uber driver experienced a medical emergency, prompting 26-year-old Kenny Franklin to take control of the SUV and steer it out of harm's way.
The trooper, 58-year-old Jack Hypes of Tampa, continues to recover from minor injuries, the FHP said.
"Your efforts undoubtedly saved Trooper Hypes from more serious harm, as well as that of the hundreds of drivers passing nearby as the event unfolded," FHP Sgt. Steve Gaskins wrote to Franklin. "You are highly commended for saving everyone at risk on this day and for displaying the greatest care and concern for your fellow citizens."
It unfolded while Franklin was taking an Uber ride late Wednesday morning, troopers said.
He was a passenger when Jose L. Feliciano, 37, of Tampa, experienced the medical emergency while driving westbound on I-4 just east of Interstate 275, troopers said.
Feliciano began to lose control and the SUV started weaved across lanes when Franklin took over, bringing the vehicle to a stop on the shoulder of the highway, troopers said.
Hypes spotted the SUV driving erratically and stopped behind it just as Franklin safely pulled it over.
But when Hypes began to approach the SUV, Feliciano was still incapacitated and accidentally switched gears, causing the SUV to lurch backward, troopers said.
Hypes was knocked down and the SUV was partially running him over with the left rear tire, troopers said.
After Franklin secured the SUV, ran out and lifted it off Hypes, troopers said the SUV almost immediately shifted back into drive. With it now moving forward, Franklin ran back to the SUV and put it in park.
Hypes was transported to Tampa General Hospital, troopers said. Franklin and Feliciano were not injured.