MODESTO -- It has been a trying year for Modesto Police Officer Juan Arroyo.
Doctors did not know if he would pull through after a drunken driver crashed into his police cruiser at 50 mph back in January 2018.
"Before you know it, I got broadsided. I got broadsided at Yosemite and Santa Ana," Arroyo recalled. "The car must have been pushed I'd have guessed maybe 30, 40 yards up a sidewalk, through a fence and about a foot away from a house."
His injuries left him confined to a wheelchair for months.
"From head to toe, I had a skull fracture. I had a mild concussion," he said. "A fractured jaw, which caused my jaw to be wired shut for six weeks. I had a compound fracture in this arm. Bruised lungs, fractured ribs, broken pelvis."
He had to slowly learn to walk again.
"I had to relearn how to walk again, which was weird," Arroyo said. "We take walking for granted and when you go through something like it’s almost like your body forgets."
Now, 13 months later, he’s finally starting to feel like his old self. He is able to walk, run and even return to full police duty.
"I love this job," he told FOX40. "I can’t see myself doing anything else."
Thursday night, FOX40 got to ride along with Officer Arroyo as he responded to a missing persons call in Modesto.
He said his injuries on the job did not discourage him and only reinforced his love of service. He was happy to be putting his badge back on and continue to fulfill what he views as his life’s calling.
"So I chose not to be a victim and instead be a survivor and keep going forward," Arroyo said.
The drunken driver responsible for injuring Officer Arroyo was recently sentenced to seven years behind bars.