LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) In a year where experienced Lexington Police officers are leaving the department at a staggering rate, there is one who would give anything to put on a uniform and report to her squad.
Officer Dawn Miller was headed home after her shift in April when she was hit by a wrong way driver. 38-year-old Angelina Raad of Winchester died in the crash.
Several broken bones and surgeries later, Officer Miller is still in a wheelchair, but learning to make the best of it. Determined to come back stronger than ever.
“My life probably won’t ever be the same again,” Officer Miller said. She thinks of her life as chapters these days. Before April 12 and the new journey she started after the tragedy that morning. Her day at work was like any other, but when her shift ended and Officer Miller was headed home, she was hit by a driver going the wrong way on New Circle Road.
“The thing I remember most about the collision is just the instant amount of overwhelming, intense pain,” Miller said.
Trauma doctors at UK Hospital told her she had two days of surgeries, followed by a stroke. “I don’t remember any of that.”
The crash left her with a broken leg and right arm, a shattered ankle, seven broken ribs and a broken clavicle and hip.
And later, came the guilt.
“It’s not fair,” Officer Miller said. As she recovered, more wrong way accidents happened. Ones that looked a lot like hers, except for the outcome.
“It was difficult to see the other one’s that happened after mine. I don’t know why I survived and other people didn’t.”
The reason may be simple. To get back to public service.
When asked if it’s her goal to police again? “Absolutely, absolutely.”
Some days are better than others. She’s trying to will her dream to work again, into reality. And, she’s got an army behind her.
“I’ve seen that confidence in her. I know she’ll get back to where she was,” said longtime friend and colleague Det. Steve Cobb.
Officer Miller says when boredom gets the best of her, she heads down to police headquarters, just a block from the wheelchair accessible hotel where she’s living.
Her department has stepped up in ways Officer Miller cannot even begin to wrap her head around. From hospital visits in the early days to renovations that will make her more comfortable at home, she’s overwhelmed with gratitude.
“It’s hard because there’s no way I can repay them for all of this.”
And, her first responder family wants her to know, she won’t have to. They’re writing this new chapter with her.
The fundraising for modifications to Officer Miller’s home continues. If you’d like to help out, you can do so through this GoFundMe link.