A Florida Highway Patrol trooper clearing a traffic crash was seriously injured early Sunday morning when a drunk driver plowed into the crash site, officials say.
John Bencosme, 26, was arrested and charged with one count of DUI and two counts of DUI/damage to property or person, jail records show.
Bencosme was driving a blue Hyundai Veloster on the Palmetto Expressway near the Okeechobee Road ramp when he plowed into a Hyundai Elantra, according to the FHP.
The Elantra was one of two cars that were involved in a crash that Cruz was investigating. The Veloster hit the Elantra, which then hit Cruz, who was standing on the road, police say.
Cruz “was struck and thrown until he landed on the ground which resulted in serious bodily injury,” according to the arrest report.
Cruz was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center, where he was listed in critical but stable condition, police say.
By the time additional FHP troopers arrived, Bencosme had been arrested by Hialeah police. A voluntary sobriety test was done on the spot due to the “alcoholic substance emitting from Bencosme’s breath.”
A blood and breath test was also done on the road. Police say Bencosme blew a blood alcohol concentration of .201 percent. Three minutes later he had a .190.
Florida drunk driving laws prohibit driving any vehicle with a reading of .08 percent or above.
The Palmetto Expressway exit ramp to Okeechobee Road was shut down for several hours as authorities investigated.