Port St. Lucie grandfather thanks FHP trooper for saving his life

    Port St. Lucie grandfather thanks FHP trooper for saving his life (WPEC)

    A heroic trooper put his life on the line to save a stranger’s life Monday morning.

    Mithil Patel, a 31-year-old Florida Highway Patrol trooper, is still recovering at St. Mary’s Medical Center and is in good condition, as of Monday night.

    Rony Bottex, a grandfather who lives in Port St. Lucie, said the trooper pushed him out of the way of an out of control car along I-95 near Hobe Sound.

    “If it wasn’t for him, I would be gone,” Bottex said to his wife, Myrtha, while watching the exclusive CBS12 Traffic Tracker video.

    It was hard to watch for Bottex, who is now in crutches with a brace for his knee.

    He said he knows his injury could’ve been critical if it weren’t for his hero.

    “What he did for me, he doesn’t do it because he’s a state trooper, he doesn’t for his job," Bottex said. "He was there to protect a person he doesn’t know. I don’t believe anybody would do the same."

    In the video, Patel is at the scene of a prior crash involving Bottex and another car on the northbound lanes of I-95, right before the impact.

    The right lane was blocked off.

    “I heard the car, BOOM! The car spins, and then he just pushed me away,” Bottex recalled.

    Investigators said a white van rear ended a dark Audi, causing the driver to lose control. Patel pushed Bottex out of the path of the spinning Audi before he is tossed into the air, saving Bottex’s life.

    “There’s only one thing I remember, when he pushed me,” he said.

    Thankfully, first responders were already at the scene and rushed to help.

    “That’s amazing, that’s something I’ll never forget,” Bottex said.

    He has a message for the trooper who saved his life.

    “I want to be your family because you’re a good person,” he said. “It’s not what you do, it’s that’s the way you are.”

    FHP credits Patel’s actions, but hopes this story will teach drivers out there to pay attention when there’s a lane closure due to a crash.

    As of Monday night, the driver of that white van has not been ticketed.

    The crash is still under investigation.

    As for Patel, his wife tells CBS12 News he’s talking and should be able to walk.

    She says they appreciate the thoughts and prayers.

    FHP plans to hold a news conference on Tuesday.

    Time and location have yet to be determined.

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