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News & Notes Winter 2013

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News & Notes Winter 2013


Excellence in Service Award

District Six Secretary, Gus Pego, presented Manny Collazo with the Excellence in Service Award. Photo provided by Florida Department of Transportation.

In December, the Florida Department of Transportation District Six Intelligent Transportation Systems Office awarded Road Ranger Manny Collazo with its first ever Excellence in Service Award. Currently retired, Manny first worked as a Road Ranger from 1998-2008 servicing State Road 826 as well as Interstate 95 in Miami-Dade County. He then took on a leadership role and launched the Road Ranger program for SR 826/836 Interchange Reconstruction Project. In every instance, Manny worked to keep the roadways clear and traffic flowing through his own work on the roadway, project management and training of new Road Rangers. FDOT recognizes Manny for his contributions to the Road Ranger program both for launching it and sustaining it. Manny received an award for his services in November at a Town Hall meeting.


A Georgia HERO driver on a recent GA 400 patrol shift made a startling discovery when she stopped to assist a motorist on the side of the road. Upon reaching the car the HERO discovered a man who had passed away from an apparent gunshot wound. Alpharetta Department of Public Safety spokesman George Gordon stated that the female HERO driver saw the vehicle parked on the right shoulder of GA 400 at the overpass. After she called for assistance, Alpharetta police and fire responded, he said. The victim was dead at the scene. An investigation is currently underway.


The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has noted an increase in motorists taking advantage of fuel allocations provided by the INDOT Hoosier Helpers sponsored by State Farm. State officials said 4,134 free gallons of gas were given out across three districts covering 157 miles of Indiana expressways in the 2011 fiscal year. It seems some motorists have become savvy to the fact that the Illinois DOT Minutemen (patrolling expressways along the IL/IN state border) charge $10 for each gallon of gas, while INDOT Hoosier Helpers will provide a gallon free of charge. From motorists pushing their cars over the state line to “breaking down” two or three times in the same week in the same spot, those looking to dupe the system have become increasingly frequent. The INDOT Hoosier Helpers are now more aware of the situation and will now offer to take would-be scam artists to a gas station.


NHDOT Commissioner

NHDOT Commissioner of Transportation Christopher Clement announced the new sponsorship program.

The New Hampshire DOT recently announced a new public private partnership between the NH DOT Bureau of Turnpikes and State Farm® Insurance for sponsorship of the Safety Patrol. All sponsorship monies will be used to support the DOT Safety Patrol program, primarily helping to fund patrol trucks and equipment with an option for NHDOT to expand the patrol coverage area to more fully cover the Spaulding Turnpike and to cover the FE Everett Turnpikes (FEET) from the Massachusetts border (US 3) to I-293 Manchester to I-93 Exit 14. “This is great news for motorists who drive on I-95 and the Spaulding Turnpike in New Hampshire,” said NHDOT Commissioner Chris Clement. “This public-private partnership with State Farm will ensure an additional level of safety for the traveling public for several years.”


Preston Sewell, NJDOT SSP

A NJDOT SSP opeartor, Preston Sewell, recovered the subject of a Silver Alert in November. Photo courtesy of NJDOT.

At approximately 5:15 a.m. on Sunday, November 18, 2012, New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Safety Service Patrol (SSP) driver, Preston Sewell, recovered the subject of a Silver Alert. NJDOT first became aware of the alert around 8:30 p.m. the previous night and had alerted its staff as well as motorists traveling New Jersey’s roadways were informed of the missing person via radio communications, Variable Message Signage (VMS) and its 511 system.  Seven and a half hours later, Preston reported to work for the start of his shift at the SSP yard in Harding, NJ on I-287 NB at approximate mile marker 32.6.  By 4:30 a.m., the SSP morning briefing had ended and Preston hopped in his truck to start his morning patrol on I-287 from mile marker 30-45, driving first north and then looping to drive southbound and back again. On his return loop from southbound to northbound, Preston spotted a stranded vehicle on the side of the road just south of the SSP yard entrance.  He pulled over to assist the motorist and found an elderly gentleman sleeping in the passenger seat.  Preston soon discovered that the man was very confused. He recalled running out of gas but not knowing where he was, he had decided to pull over for a nap. Preston knew the man could not have been there for longer than 45 minutes and after a quick call to John Doherty from NJDOT’s Central Dispatch Unit for a license plate check, Preston confirmed the gentleman was the subject of a Silver Alert. State police and an ambulance soon responded to the call and took the man to the hospital. “I am glad we found the guy,” says Preston. “And he was safely returned to his family.”


The Ohio State Highway Patrol and Ohio DOT have partnered with the Federal Highway Administration to bring the first-ever traffic incident management (TIM) training to Ohio’s first responders and public safety partners. Consistent with the National Incident Command System model for response to critical incidents, more than 250 Ohio first responders and public safety partners have received the training so far.

The state’s traffic incident management program, dubbed Ohio QuickClear, includes firefighters, emergency medical services, law enforcement, transportation personnel and towing and recovery services. These first responders are responsible for detecting, responding to and clearing traffic incidents to alleviate or avoid backups and delays, as well as secondary crashes. According to state officials, QuickClear reduces the duration and impacts of traffic incidents and improves the safety of motorists, crash victims and emergency responders. For more information on the QuickClear program, visit

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