Miami-Dade County

Trooper who was hit by a distracted driver returns to work — in a helicopter

Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Carlos Rosario made a grand entrance Wednesday for his first day back at work — by helicopter.

Rosario, who was critically injured when a driver lost control and slammed into him on the side of a highway nearly two years ago, thanked the department, his friends and family for support during his long recovery.

Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Carlos Rosario points to the heavens and thanks God for his recovery during ceremony celebrating his return to work on Wednesday, January 9, 2019, nearly two years after being critically injured in a crash. AL DIAZ

“I am extremely grateful and happy and honored to be able to share this good news with you all,” he said before beginning his shift Wednesday morning. “By the grace of Jesus I am back to serve the people of Florida.”

Rosario was conducting a speed detail on the shoulder of the Dolphin Expressway at 107th Avenue on March 17, 2017, when he was hit.

The 12-year veteran, who was thrown about 30 feet, was taken by helicopter to Ryder Trauma Center and treated for injuries to his face, spine and lower extremities.

Shortly after the accident, friends, family and members of the law enforcement community rallied to raise nearly $80,000 for the trooper through a GoFundMe account.

The Florida Highway Patrol later arrested driver Hugo Olivares and charged him with reckless driving after they say he was texting when he lost control. Olivares has since pleaded guilty and was placed on five years of probation.

On Wednesday, Rosario said his life changed the day of the accident.

“During the past 14 months I’ve had multiple surgeries, learned to walk, talk and rely on others for basic life needs,” he said. “This was a miracle from God.”

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.