A Florida Highway Patrol trooper who saved a man's life and was hit by an out-of-control car on I-95 in Martin County exactly one year ago is receiving a very high honor.
Corporal Mithil Patel has been recognized as FHP's 2019 Trooper of the Year for his heroic action in service and protection.
Investigators said Patel was investigating a crash on Dec. 3, 2018 near Exit 96, Bridge Road in Hobe Sound, when a van rear-ended another car, causing it to spin out and slam into Patel.
Patel was taken to St. Mary's Medical Center in serious condition, but was released from the hospital two days later. FHP said Patel suffered a concussion, as well as bruising and lacerations, but did not break any bones
66-year-old Rony Bottex said Patel saved his life by pushing him out of the way of the spinning car. The two met for the first time at a news conference last December.
"God bless you," said Bottex, who hugged Patel in a very emotional moment. "We are not friends, we're family."
On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis congratulated Patel on Twitter, saying, "Your recent promotion is duly deserved."
Congratulations to @FLHSMV's FHP Corporal Mithil Patel for receiving the 2019 Trooper of the Year award for heroic action in service and protection. Your recent promotion is duly deserved.— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) December 3, 2019