By Sgt. Steve Gaskins, FHP
Just after 6:00 pm on March 26th, Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) Trooper Billy Ortiz was concluding his shift and arriving at his Brooksville residence when he was flagged down by a motorist traveling at high speed and blowing the horn of his pickup truck. The driver, a 25-year-old Brooksville man, stopped when he saw Trooper Ortiz. He exited his vehicle and began yelling that an eight-month-old infant was choking. Trooper Ortiz attempted to assist the infant, along with a passerby who identified herself as a retired nurse, but they were unable to clear the obstruction in the infant’s throat. Acting immediately, Trooper Ortiz and the nurse took the infant in the Trooper’s patrol car to Oak Hill Regional Hospital, where medical staff was able to clear the obstruction, which was found to be a plastic wrapper. The Trooper’s rapid and decisive actions were credited with saving the infant’s life.