The Florida Highway Patrol trooper who was struck by a driver who lost control of his car and slammed into the trooper on the Dolphin Expressway was released Friday afternoon from Ryder Trauma Center.
Wearing a neck brace and confined to a wheelchair — he had extensive damage to his legs, spine, face and head — Carlos Rosario, wearing a Superman T-shirt, was greeted by fellow FHP troopers, doctors, and his wife Amy.
“I’m just thankful to be able to hold his hand,” she said of her husband of 20 years.
“He’s a true trooper, a super trooper,” added FHP spokesman Jose Sanchez.
Rosario said he is grateful for all the love and good wishes he has received.
“The continuous support from all over the U.S. was overwhelming,” he said.
On the morning of March 17, Rosario, a 12-year FHP veteran who was 37 at the time of the accident, had just stopped his patrol car on the side of the Dolphin Expressway to clock speeders. He was standing beside his car when Hugo Andre Olivares lost control of his Chevrolet and hit Rosario and his Dodge Charger so violently that the parked patrol car lurched forward at about 35 mph, according to an arrest warrant for Olivares.
Olivares, 26, was texting and driving around 75 mph in the westbound lane of the Dolphin near Northwest 107th Avenue when he hit Rosario and his car, according to the warrant. Olivares has been charged with reckless driving with bodily injury and reckless driving with property damage.
Trooper Ellery Collado, who considers Rosario a brother, said the accident was one of the worst days of his life. Because the “move over” law has been in effect since 2002, Collado said drivers have no excuse.
“We need to be more careful on these highways,” he said.
Trauma Surgeon Dr. Carl Schulman said Rosario’s recovery rate has been astounding. “He was close to death numerous times,” said Schulman, a physican with Jackson Memorial Hospital/University of Miami Health System.
Rosario is expected to fully recover in about a year and a half, said Dr. Gemayaret Alvarez, the medical director of Neuro-Rehabilitation Service at Jackson.
He hopes to return to the job he loves as an FHP trooper.
“I know the road to recovering is long, but I thank God I’m alive every day,” Rosario said. “It’s a day my family and I will never forget.”