A Fort Worth police officer who was hit by a vehicle and dragged 100 feet is expected to return to work next month after a three-year recovery.
Officer Matt Brazeal was critically injured around 11:30 a.m. on June 13, 2020, after a fleeing suspect hit him with a stolen car near West Loop 820. Brazeal had been deploying STOP Sticks and a tire-deflation device in an attempt to stop the suspect.
Before Brazeal had time to react, the suspect swerved, and the officer was dragged more than 100 feet. He ultimately suffered a broken pelvis, broken bones, a collapsed lung and a brain injury.
Over the next several years, Brazeal had around 60 surgeries and rehab visits. His most recent – and what he hopes is his last – was on Wednesday.
“I’ll say this, it’s tough to remain positive sometimes,” Brazeal told FOX 4 in an interview. “When I woke up from surgery the other day and they said you can’t do anything for six more weeks, I was like what?… I was ready. It takes a lot of mental fortitude.”
Fort Worth PD Chief Neil Noakes, who has formed a close bond with Brazeal during his recovery, credited the officer’s strong constitution with helping him get through these tough times.
“As far as his physical fitness level, his mental toughness, physical toughness, had he not had those things, I don’t know how he could’ve made it,” Noakes said.
The suspect, 38-year-old Ronnie Jackson Jr., was apprehended shortly after allegedly hitting Brazeal. His criminal trial is expected to begin in September.