Two Florida Highway Patrol Troopers Receive Roadway Designations
~ Portions of roads in Lee and Hillsborough counties named in remembrance of State Troopers ~
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – On December 1, 2017, a portion of Interstate 75 (S.R. 93A) between Fowler Avenue and Fletcher Avenue in Hillsborough County and a portion of State Road (S.R.) 80, in Lee County, were renamed in remembrance of two fallen Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) Troopers, Corporal Joseph R. Bertrand and Lieutenant Benedict J. Thomas.
Corporal Bertrand was a member of the 8th FHP recruit class and graduated on October 4, 1951. Corporal Bertrand was stationed in several areas throughout the state during his career that included Pahokee, Homestead, Miami, Pinellas Park and Fort Myers. Corporal Bertrand was shot by a violator on December 22, 1967, SR-80, while on a traffic stop conducting a DUI investigation. He was 46 years old at the time of his death.
Lieutenant Benedict J. Thomas attended the 55th FHP recruit class in Tallahassee and graduated on July 28, 1978, going on to serve the citizens of Florida for 11 years. Lieutenant Benedict’s duty stations while serving on the FHP were in Tallahassee and Tampa. On June 9, 1989, a passing car struck and killed Lieutenant Thomas while walking back to his patrol vehicle after investigating an abandoned vehicle on Interstate 75 in Tampa. He was 32 years old at the time of his death.
“It is my honor to be part of renaming our roadways after these Troopers made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty,” Said Senator Bill Montford. “With these designations, their sacrifices will never be forgotten, and Floridians will be reminded of the great risks faced by our brave men and women in uniform every day.”
“Everyday our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line,” said Representative Halsey Beshears. “Today we honor those who have fallen while serving and protecting our great state.”
“Corporal Bertrand and Lieutenant Thomas dedicated their lives to protecting Florida residents and visitors,” said Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle (DHSMV) Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “DHSMV is proud to memorialize their service and sacrifice through our renamed roadways, keeping their memories alive.”
“Lieutenant Thomas and Corporal Bertrand served the residents and visitors of the State of Florida with great dedication as Florida Highway Patrol Troopers,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “It is a great honor to have a portion of these highways named in their memory and for their dedicated service.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides highway safety and security through excellence in service, education and enforcement. The Department is leading the way to a safer Florida through the efficient and professional execution of its core mission: the issuance of driver licenses, vehicle tags and titles and operation of the Florida Highway Patrol. To learn more about DHSMV and the services offered, visit www.flhsmv.gov, follow us on Twitter @FLHSMV or find us on Facebook. For safe driving tips and techniques, download the official Florida Driver License Handbook.