WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4)– It’s been a long road to recovery for Thornton Police Motor Officer Joe Dougherty. He was struck while trying to stop a speeding vehicle on Interstate 25.
Dougherty was then run over by a suspected drunk driver behind the wheel of an SUV. It happened just after 8 a.m. in the northbound lanes of I-25 on Sept. 24.
Police said Dougherty had his emergency lights and siren on when he was struck.
“He’s an everyday hero. He’s a guy who’s out there doing his job, protecting his community and he was hurt in the process,” said Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Frank Gale.
Dougherty was critically injured and has undergone multiple surgeries.
About 300 people gathered for a fundraiser and silent auction at the Colorado State Lodge Building in Westminster on Saturday to show their support for Dougherty. The Fraternal Order of Police organized the event.
“Drinking and driving, drugs and driving, texting and driving, phone and driving, it’s just, so not worth it, it’s just not worth it. We’re so lucky that Joe is alive, but there are so many people that aren’t today,” said Joe’s wife Denise.
When Joe arrived at the fundraiser, he was met with a crowd of people wanted to hug him and wish him a speedy recovery.
“He’s just very grateful. It’s very hard because we would rather be the ones helping out,” said Denise. “Never in a million years would we have asked anyone to do anything for us.”
“Me and my sister are just glad that my dad is alive and just glad God was there to save him from everything,” said Joe’s daughter Kyley. “He’s been pushing himself so much, so far just to get to here.”
Joe’s wife said he still has a long road ahead of him for recovery, but is confident he will heal thanks to a community of loving people who support him.
Saturday’s fundraiser raised about $7,000 for the Dougherty family.
The driver of the SUV in the Sept. 24 collision, Fernando Malagon, 19, was arrested for suspicion of drunk driving.