Man arrested in DUI crash that injured FHP trooper remorseful

John Bencosme, 26, says he tried to help trooper after crash

MIAMI – A man accused of drunken driving in a crash that injured a Florida Highway Patrol trooper said he's sorry for what happened.

John Bencosme, 26, spoke to Local 10 News after he was released from jail Sunday.

According to the FHP, Trooper Daniel Cruz was at the scene of a crash on Okeechobee Road near the Palmetto Expressway about 1 a.m. Sunday when the car Bencosme was driving slammed into one of the cars from the earlier crash. 

"There's no light there, so it was kind of hard to see anything," Bencosme told Local 10.

The impact sent the car barreling into Cruz, who was bleeding from the back of his head.

"I freaked out," Bencosme said. "I panicked." 

Bencosme, who was driving back from an art show with a few friends, said he tried to help the trooper.

"I ran to him as fast as I could," Bencosme said. "I even have his blood on my pants because I was trying to give him aid."

Cruz was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center.

His brother, surrounded by family and other FHP troopers, spoke to reporters outside the hospital.

"He could only remember just lying on the ground and thinking that he was going to die," brother Paul Garcia said.

Cruz was seriously injured and is expected to be out of work for about six months.

Garcia said he's just "grateful to God" that his brother is alive.

Trooper Daniel Cruz

According to the FHP arrest report, Bencosme had a blood-alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit.

Bencosme said he had aspirations of becoming a police officer.

Asked if he would have done anything differently, Bencosme answered matter-of-factly.

"Uber," he said.


About the Authors:

Liane Morejon is an Emmy-winning reporter who joined the Local 10 News family in January 2010. Born and raised in Coral Gables, Liane has a unique perspective on covering news in her own backyard.