Bio & Incident Details
Tour: 6 years
Badge # Not available
Cause: Struck by vehicle
Incident Date: 9/8/1965
Auxiliary Captain Bender was struck by a vehicle and killed as he manned a roadblock on the Julia Tuttle Causeway.
Captain Bender and several officers were working the roadblock to restrict causeway traffic because of dangerous driving conditions in Miami Beach due to Hurricane Betsy. At approximately 2200 hours, Captain Bender was checking the identification of a vehicle he stopped when a yellow taxicab approached the roadblock. Realizing that the vehicle was not going to stop, Captain Bender and another officer ran for the median in the road, but the vehicle struck the captain. He sustained a fractured skull and was transported to a hospital where he died at 0002 hours.
A homicide investigation showed that the driver had a driving record that included three accidents, one suspension, and over seven traffic infractions. However, this incident was ruled "accidental".
The accident was later investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who was looking into the possibility that the taxi-driver ran the roadblock intentionally because his three passengers paid him to do so. The three passengers were involved in a plot to kill a man in the federal witness protection program. All three passengers had fled the scene of the accident, leaving the taxi-driver alone.
Captain Bender had been with the Florida Highway Patrol for 6 years, and was a World War II veteran. He was survived by his wife, three brothers, and a sister.