Late last winter, the life of one Tennessee Highway Patrol officer would take a sudden, unexpected turn. While pulled to the side of the road to complete paperwork, the officer’s cruiser was struck by a drowsy semi truck driver. Had emergency workers responded to the truck accident later than they did, the 37-year-old officer probably wouldn’t be alive today.
Shortly after the incident occurred, we discussed some details of the accident on this blog. As suspected, the tractor-trailer’s driver fell asleep just before careening into the officer’s vehicle on the side of the freeway. Nearly 10 months after the nearly-fatal wreck, it’s encouraging to know that the officer is making a slow — but certain — recovery.
As fortunate as the highway patrol officer feels to be alive, he has made it clear how different and difficult his life has become since the accident. He can no longer do things he once enjoyed, such as a daily 2-mile jog. Rather than being physically active in the way he wants, he goes through hours of physical therapy at least four times a week. His regimen includes rehabilitation for his neck and spinal injuries, in addition to therapy for his eyes and vocal cords.
Reports do not indicate whether or not civil action has been pursued against the truck driver or his employer. In a number of truck accidents, employers can be held liable if they demonstrated some kind of negligence. Often, companies will encourage drivers to violate regulations regarding how many hours they can be on the road, which can obviously lead to dangerously-fatigued drivers.
As the officer continues to make measured progress in therapy, he reiterates one wish: to return to work. When speaking of his role a cop, he commented, “That’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to be.”
Source: The Knoxville News-Sentinel, “Injured Tennessee Trooper on Road to Recovery,” Matt Lakin, Jan. 3, 2013