TORONTO – Sgt. Kelly Bachoo is back at work at York Regional Police headquarters 18 months after nearly being killed in the line of duty.
Today, her thoughts are with the three fallen officers from Moncton, New Brunswick.
“I can’t imagine what the families are going through and the children, and I know how hard it was on my own husband who is also a police officer and my children,” Bachoo said.
Bachoo is returning to work after being seriously injured in a head-on collision while driving an unmarked cruiser in December, 2012.
The 21 year police veteran says she’s grateful that her case was an accident, not “at the hands of a deliberate person set out to hurt me”.
The mother of two doesn’t remember much except seeing the Ford F-150 pick-up truck coming right at her while she was driving west along Mount Albert Road near Kennedy.
“I remember moaning, waking up. I remember holding hands with Andy,” she said referring to her partner Constable Andy Pattenden who was sitting in the passenger seat.
Pattenden has a vivid recollection of what happened that snowy day.
“Basically the truck just drifted off on the snowy shoulder, lost control, the driver tried to overcorrect and basically went head on right into our car,” Pattenden said.
When he opened his eyes, he saw a shattered windshield, smoke from airbags that had been deployed and Sgt. Bachoo who was bleeding from the head.
“What was most concerning for me was there was my partner, who was passed out, who I believed could have been dead,” Pattenden said while choking back tears. He tried to call for help on the car’s two-way radio but it had been destroyed in the crash.
“I tried to comfort her as much as possible as help arrived and we just went from there,” he said.
Help arrived a short time later and both Bachoo and Pattenden were airlifted to hospital.
Her injuries were severe: she had a compound fracture in her left femur, a shattered lower right leg, a broken wrist and forearm, broken bones in her back and neck, and her head was split open.
Bachoo spent roughly two months in hospital and rehab and still goes to physiotherapy. She now has a titanium rod in one leg and three titanium plates and 16 screws in the other. She credits her seatbelt and a bulletproof vest for saving her life.
Pattenden broke both of his knees and underwent therapy for months. The crash left him traumatized.
Bachoo says for now, she’s happy to be back part-time in an administrative role even though she will likely never be able to go back out on the road again.
“As much as you hate to say it, it could have been worse, and I just feel lucky and I’m hoping that this was my one.”
© Shaw Media, 2014