THOMASVILLE, N.C. — One week ago, Thomasville police officer Joey Driggers was rushed to the hospital with severe injuries after trying to stop a driver running from authorities.
FOX8 covered the story the day Driggers was rolled in a helicopter and rushed to the hospital. Thursday we sat down with him at home as he prepares for more surgery.
“I’ve made a promise to my wife and my kids that I’m coming home. There’s no ifs, ands or buts. There’s no if Joey’s coming home. Joey’s coming home. I will fight for my life, not for me but for them,” Driggers said. “I knew when I got hit and I hit the ground, I knew that, I’ve been hurt several times in my career but I knew this was different.”
The driver, 28-year-old Brian Bacelli, who Rowan County deputies were chasing, hit Driggers at 45 mph.
“Everything’s pretty much bruised. Even the palms of my hands are bruised,” Driggers said.
On Thursday afternoon the Thomasville police sergeant sat next to his wife Jennifer and read us the messages his daughters and wife wrote on his cast.
His bones broken and shattered, joints dislocated and his lung punctured.
You can see pins sticking out of his left leg.
“Very sore, in a lot of pain,” Driggers said.
Everything was injured but his head.
“I remember pretty much all of it,” Driggers said. “I’ve been doing this 20 years and have been to hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of accidents. Nobody takes a hit like that without a head injury. I don’t even have a scratch on my head and this is not something that you see people walk away from.”
Driggers and his wife call it an act of God.
“His head had to hit somewhere. There’s no other explanation. If you’re in the air 15 feet, your head has to land at some point and I said God just stuck his hand right there and caught his head,” Jennifer said.
The officer will be off his feet for months undergoing surgeries and physical therapy.
Through his pain and suffering he is finding forgiveness.
“I do forgive him. We’ve all made mistakes that have affected other people’s lives and he made a mistake that affected mine,” Driggers said.
And giving thanks to the people who have supported the ones he cares about the most — his family.
Drigger’s wife says the community kindness has helped her through this tough time.
“It means everything to us from the bottom of our hearts we appreciate everything,” Jennifer said.
Driggers will have his shattered ankle re-built Friday morning. After that, he’ll have to wait three months before he can put weight on his leg. He will likely be in a wheelchair for the next six months. You can read about his progress on the family’s Facebook page, Joey’s Journey to Recovery.