TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A Tucson Police Officer injured in an off-duty accident is now getting support from the community he protects and serves.
Officer K. Jacob Walker was riding his motorcycle when he was hit by an alleged drunk driver near Fourth Avenue and 7th Street one night last month. Witnesses told Walker the driver ran a stop sign.
“Then I saw the headlights pop out and there was no change in speed, I tried hitting my brakes," said Walker. "After that, I don’t remember anything.”
Walker suffered a shattered left femur, broken front tooth, fractured lower jaw and required stitches on his upper lip.
After surgeries, including rods and screws that were put in his leg, and physical therapy, Walker was released to work on light duty, but said he barely made it through a shift.
“I had a full ten hours under my belt before I was rushed back to the hospital," said Walker.
While at work, Walker said he started shaking. With a temperature registering at 104 degrees, Walker was transported to the hospital where he was diagnosed with sepsis. He underwent another surgery to remove an infection in his leg.
Walker has been sharing his recovery on social media. He told KOLD News 13 he was happy to be home Monday afternoon after spending two of the last four weeks in the hospital.
“There’s never been a day in my career in the last four years that I haven’t wanted to go to work,” said Walker.
“I haven’t been able to work, I’ve been burning my own paid time off," said Walker.
Without the opportunity to work his normal shift, or expected overtime hours, medical bills are piling up.
That’s where local businesses are backing the blue. Hotel McCoy is offering to donate an amount from reservations if a promotional code, GETWELLJAKE, is used.
Walker said Dr. Josh Nagao at Designer Dental gave him his smile back.
“Not having my smile, or not feeling comfortable with my smile because I was missing a front tooth, that was hard," said Walker.
But one of the hardest parts, Walker said, was going from being so busy to just sitting still, off-duty. He said he is thankful for the support from his parents, siblings and Blue Line family.
“They told me that the first night, when I was in the trauma room, there was officers lining all of UMC," said Walker. “To know that so many people care about one guy that wasn’t even injured on duty, it was pretty incredible.”
The officer was wearing a helmet when he was hit, which he credits for saving his life. Along with a little help from somewhere else.
“With the circumstances that I’ve been handed and I’m still here, there’s a reason for me to still be here," said Walker. "I need to figure out what that is. So I feel very lucky and blessed to still be around.”
A friend of Walker’s has established a GoFundMe to help with medical expenses.
Two ways to help through Hotel McCoy: Book a room anytime in July or August using the promo code GETWELLJAKE and the hotel will donate $10 from that reservation to Jake’s fund as well as take 10% off the room rate. You can also purchase a Friday night pool party ticket for a donation amount of your choice and all of the proceeds will go directly to Walker.