FHP trooper back on duty after being struck by suspected DUI driver

WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A Florida Highway Patrol trooper is back on duty after he was struck by a suspected drunk driver.

Twenty-nine-year-old FHP Trooper Daniel Cruz was investigating a traffic crash on the southbound Palmetto Expressway exit ramp to Okeechobee Road last December.

Officials said driver John Benscome was driving under the influence when he crashed into several vehicles, in turn causing Cruz to be struck.

Cruz was critically injured and airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital.

7News spoke with Cruz during his stay at the hospital with his wife by his side.

“When I got hit, and they told me the chopper is coming, I went, ‘This is it,” said Cruz.

The 29-year-old didn’t know whether he’d ever be able to come back to work, but he said he loves his job and was going to persist.

“Even the doctor had told me it was going to be at least a year before you’re back at work,” said Cruz. “Now, it’s seven months after the accident, and I’m here, here to tell my story.”

Cruz officially returned to work two weeks ago, after seven months of recovery.

“It was surreal. It was a little tearjerker,” he said. “I had a strong will. I knew I had to come back, and I had to prove myself.”

Cruz said the outpouring of encouragement from the community was overwhelming.

“Every milestone that I would hit, every month or so I would send videos to my family and friends,” said Cruz. “They didn’t believe it. They’d go, ‘Danny, this is a miracle. It’s a blessing.'”

Trooper Cruz is now back on duty, patrolling the streets at a job he loves. He said his story is one of pure will, adding that he gives thanks to a higher power.

“Because of God. Because of God and my will, with the combination, I pulled through,” said Cruz.

Cruz said he is thankful to have recovered and to be back with his family. His only son, Austin, will turn 1 on Thursday.

“The time had gone so fast,” said Cruz. “It’s such a blessing to be back and to be with him and with my wife. Now I’m back at work.”

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