Injured OHP Trooper Talks About Crash That Almost Killed Him
OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) trooper who barely survived a crash on the job is sharing his story.
A truck rear-ended Gary Sanders during a traffic stop on March 12. Sanders is now back home in Frederick after spending three months in the hospital. He said tragedy can strike in an instant and he asked drivers to please move over or slow down for law enforcement.
OHP trooper Gary Sanders has been passing out hugs and shaking a lot of hands lately.
“It's overwhelming, it's a nice feeling to know that you are loved and cared about just by so many people,” Sanders said.
Most people did not think he would be here today, including himself.
“I ask myself, ‘How did I survive that,'” Sanders added.
The 52-year-old was patrolling Highway 183 southwest of Lawton back in March when he made a traffic stop.
“I don't remember walking back to my car, the thing that comes to mind is I remember the explosion,” Sanders explained.
He was in his patrol car, writing a ticket when a truck rear-ended him at 68 miles per hour. OHP said the driver from Texas was not paying attention.
“I got the first three letters of her last name written out and that's when I was hit,” Sanders told News 9.
Sanders broke his pelvis, nose, teeth, six ribs and seven vertebrae. The crash also separated his small and big intestine, as well as his colon, and lacerated his spleen. He lost more than 50 pounds.
“It is a miracle I survived, but I just give all the credit to the Lord, that's why I'm here,” Sanders said.
Sanders spent three months in the hospital and got to go home May 23. He was greeted by the community of Frederick when he arrived. He now uses a walker to get around and said he eventually wants to go back to work with OHP. He said his retirement will be on his terms and not because of a tragic accident.
“When I retire, I want to retire wearing that brown shirt,” he added.
Sanders is a little sore and moving slow, but just started physical therapy at home. He wants a full year to get his strength back before he tries to return to work.
Sanders said he is interested in working in OHP's Trooper Support Services, which is a helping hand for troopers and their families when tragedy strikes.