Jan 14, 2013 |


Jan 14, 2013 - Pedestrian Accidents

Two lives changed on December 14, 2011 – the life of an Erie police officer and the life of the driver who struck her with her car. Both are still healing. The officer is brain-damaged and paralyzed. She will never return to her old job. The driver is physically fine but the crushing guilt she carries weighs heavily. That driver was not speeding, had no drugs or alcohol in her system, and was not texting or phoning when the accident occurred. The officer was crossing the street on a rainy afternoon, and the driver just didn’t see her in time.

The 42 year-old cop says she doesn’t remember the accident and doesn’t want to. The impact caused bleeding in her brain, an injury so serious that the neurosurgeon who treated her doubted she would survive. A year later she is trying to regain useful movement in her arms and get her speech patterns back to normal. Her doctor says his patient has surpassed all expectations for recovery. Her 50 year-old fiancée is still with her and still planning to marry her in 2014.

Her fiancée has been trying to build a bridge between the victim and the driver. The officer says she has already forgiven the woman and is not angry with her. After the accident, other police officers told her the driver was in shock and distraught. The fiancée called her and left a message. It was returned on Christmas Eve, 2011. He said to her, “Don’t carry the guilt,” and invited her to meet the officer face to face. The woman couldn’t do it.

Last November, the man tried again. The couple invited the driver to a Fraternal Order of Police fundraiser for the injured officer. The driver declined to attend but sent a large donation. The couple will not cash the check. The husband-to-be told a reporter that they know it was more money than the woman could afford, and the thought alone was enough. It looks like that long-delayed face-to-face meeting will occur soon, but the woman won’t say when or where. She told a reporter, “I am very sorry for what happened. My thoughts and prayers have been with her this whole year. Every single day.” Sometimes, healing takes time.

Source: Erie Times News, “A year on, Pennsylvania police officer perseveres in her effort to recover from accident,” Gerry Weiss, Dec. 17, 2012

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