Florida Highway Patrol trooper Mithil Patel is being hailed as a hero after risking his own life to save a local businessman from getting hit by a spinning car.
The 31-year-old trooper was surveying a prior crash involving Rony Bottex at Interstate 95 in southern Martin County near Hobe Sound last week when another vehicle spun out of control after getting hit in a separate accident.
As the vehicle was suddenly crashing toward their direction, Patel pushed Bottex to get him out of harm’s way. With no time to save himself, Patel got hit by the vehicle and was thrown into the air upon impact, reports Palm Beach Post.
The fearless trooper was in critical condition when he was rushed to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach. He was released a few days later and is now recovering from his injuries.
Bottex, who was reunited with his real-life hero during a press briefing on Friday, said he now shares a special bond with Patel.
“We are not friends, we’re family,” said Bottex during the event at an FHP facility in West Palm Beach. “Number one and number two.”
“He did it with his heart, and I believe he will do it for more people,” Bottex said.
Bottex’s daughter, Marilyn Bottex-Wallace, also expressed her thanks to Patel.
“If it wasn’t for you, being there that day, my father wouldn’t be here,” she was quoted as saying. “It means so much to my family and I’m forever thankful for you.”
Patel, a trooper in the Fort Pierce area for five years now, said his instincts and training caused him to react that way upon seeing the vehicle coming in their direction.
“I remember talking to him, and the next memory for me is that I’m in the hospital,” said Patel. “Something just took over me and helped him and God helped me.”
“I’m just happy that he was able to save somebody’s life,” exclaimed Patel’s wife, Arti, noting that the family is happy that Patel did not suffer any major injuries.
According to Patel, he sustained a black and slightly swollen eye and some stiffness throughout his body, including the area in the back of his head.
“God saved me from any broken bones, fractures or anything like that, so I’m happy,” Patel said.
Featured image via YouTube / Associated Press