LAKEWOOD, Colo. — A Lakewood Police Department agent is back on patrol, more than 10 months after he was nearly killed in a crash.
Agent Mark O’Donnell was on his patrol motorcycle heading west on West Colfax Avenue near Vance Street when a car turned left in front of him.
“I was coming back to the police department to eat lunch,” O’Donnell said. “Unfortunately, me and the car had a collision, and then I went tumbling down Colfax into a heap of brokenness onto the road.”
O’Donnell’s helmet, boots and gun ended up scattered throughout the intersection. Thankfully, Denver 911 dispatcher Erica Limon was nearby.
“She heard the collision, recognized there was a crash, came over, recognized it was a police officer, used my radio to call out for assistance. And she’s a former EMT, so she provided medical care until fire arrived,” O’Donnell said.
O’Donnell was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with a broken neck, two broken wrists, a broken jaw and a broken leg.
He still credits Limon with saving his life.
“That is my angel, 100%. If it was not for her, I would not be here standing and talking,” he said.
He returned to work in January, but has only been able to perform desk work until now.
O’Donnell says his time has consisted of regular physical therapy and visits to the doctor.
“I wore a neck brace for 12 weeks and slept in it and was in it 24 hours a day. That was pretty difficult,” he said. “You don’t want your children to see you go through something terrible. You’re supposed to be there for them.”
O’Donnell says his family, including his daughter Miley, have been instrumental in his return.
“When you have those down days when things aren’t going well and you’re just struggling, they’re the ones keeping you motivated and telling you it will get better,” he said.
The 21-year veteran of the force says his motorcycle days are behind him, both at work and at home.
He’s looking forward to golfing this summer and hunting this fall — two activities he missed out on last year.
“Life is, you’re dealt a hand and sometimes it’s not a great hand, but you’ve got to go with what you’ve got. And if you’ve got a positive attitude in the end, most things will work out to be good,” O’Donnell said.