LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) — Agent Mark O’Donnell is out of his brace and back in the blue. The Lakewood police officer has been on medical leave since a vehicle collided with his motorcycle in August.
“I’m beyond thankful to be back. I wouldn’t pick a different profession,” said O’Donnell. He returned to patrol Monday after spending seven months on desk duty.
“I miss interacting with the public, but I learned a lot of valuable skills working the desk,” said O’Donnell. He says his first day back was slow paced, writing tickets and responding to crashes.
He’s had a long recovery full of miracles — starting with an off-duty dispatcher, who was at the right place at the right time.
“Had it not been for Erica Limon, I would not be here standing here and talking,” said O’Donnell.
Limon rushed to help O’Donnell after he was thrown from his motorcycle near Colfax Avenue and Vance Street. O’Donnell was traveling west on his motorcycle when a driver turned left in front of him. He collided with the car and was thrown down the street.
Limon used her dispatch training and O’Donnell’s own radio to call for help. “That was my angel. 100%” said O’Donnell.
From his angel on the street, to his 10-year-old angel at home, Mylee, O’Donnell was never alone.
“I had so much support. Between my family, my police family, my therapist — I have the best cheerleaders every day pushing me to get better,” said O’Donnell, who had a lot of getting better to do.
On top of a head injury, O’Donnell broke his jaw, neck, both wrists, his left forearm and his left leg. He also had several metal plates implanted in his arm.
“I’ve got a leg scar that’s pretty spectacular,” showed O’Donnell.
After months of physical therapy, he says he’s ready to be back on the street protecting the public. From now on he’ll always be on four wheels.
“My motorcycle days are done. I’ve had enough close encounters with vehicles. Can we not do that again?” laughed O’Donnell.
O’Donnell lost some mobility in his wrist, but overall his injuries will not impact him from doing his job to the fullest.