A Florida Highway Patrol trooper fired over a failure to help an accident victim last August has been reinstated as part of his appeal.
Trooper Andrew Dunn accepted a six-week unpaid suspension as part of a settlement with the FHP, signed May 27.
Dunn has returned to duty in Monroe County, FHP Capt. Nancy Rasmussen said.
After an FHP investigation into Dunn's actions at an accident along the 18-Mile Stretch of U.S. 1, near mile marker 113, Dunn received an April 14 termination letter citing "poor performance."
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"You failed to properly assess the victim or provide any aid," FHP director Col. David Brierton wrote to Dunn. "You admitted...that given the same situation, you would act in the same manner. Your continued employment with the Florida Highway Patrol would put the public at risk. "
Dunn appealed the firing in early May. A state hearing officer accepted a negotiated settlement May 27, allowing Dunn to return to duty after the 240-hour suspension and completing an FHP first-responder rescue course.
Around 10:20 a.m. on Aug. 5, 2014, Richard L'Hommedleu, 62, was driving a pickup truck toward Florida City when his truck veered off the highway. The truck ripped through a chain-link fence and stopped when wedged against roadside mangroves.
Motorists who stopped at the accident saw L'Hommedleu was unconscious. Miami truck driver Javier Hernandez broke a window on the crashed truck to check on L'Hommedleu. Mosquitoes were thick so Hernandez sprayed the victim with repellent.
Dunn arrived at the crash and called for medical help. The trooper checked L'Hommedleu, who was "non-responsive" and still in the driver's seat.
Dunn later told investigators he believed the victim was "shallow breathing," and decided to leave him in the truck in case L'Hommedleu had suffered serious neck injuries.
Dunn later said it was the first serious accident where he arrived before ambulance crews, and that he was "not a paramedic," according to FHP statements.
About five minutes later, Sgt. Pedro Reinoso arrived and went to help L'Hommedleu, who was not breathing. Reinoso removed the driver from the truck and began first aid.
"Sgt. Reinoso displayed quick thinking and reverted to his training to ensure Mr. L'Hommedleu's safety," Lt. Kathleen McKinney said in her report commending Reinoso.
Reinoso filed a complaint about Dunn's lack of action and a camera in Reinoso's car seemed to verify his account, the FHP found.
David Goodhue, editor of the Upper Keys Reporter, was driving to Key Largo and stopped at the accident scene to offer help before Dunn arrived. He took photos of Reinoso saving L'Hommedleu for a story the paper ran. At the request of the FHP, Goodhue gave a statement to the agency on what he observed.