Lodi, CA — Sonora Police Department Officer Jeff Aitken’s recovery is two weeks ahead of schedule.
Aiken made that comment in an indepth interview with KVML News from the Physical Rehabilitation Unit at Lodi Memorial Hospital.
Aitken was seriously injured in the early morning hours of May 16 when his patrol car crashed on Lyons Bald Mountain Rd. while in pursuit of a BMW driven by 20 year old Peter Loren Barrett.
From top to bottom Aitken suffered a possible small brain bleed, fractured fifth vertabrae, shattered left elbow (surgeon said it was the worst he had ever seen without an amputation), torn ligaments and muscles, broken forearm, broken wrist bones, broken femur in two places, kneecap shattered into approximately 10 pieces, additional stretched and torn ligaments and a fractured tibia.
Aitken hopes to return to his native Sonora in perhaps a week to a week in a half. He added the entire rehabilitation process could last up to one year.
Emotionally Aitken admits that he will bear the scars of this accident for a lifetime but at the same time he says he is doing very well. In the interview he remarked several times how thankful he is for all the support that the community has shown him and his family since the accident.
While doctors have said that he may not ever return to full time duty, Aitken comments, "That’s just the motivation I need. I don’t want to prove them wrong, I just want to do it for myself. My goal is get back in that patrol car and get the DUI’s off the roadway in my town."
Aitken is hoping the local law enforcement community will turn out in force Wednesday afternoon at 1:15 for Barrett’s preliminary hearing in Superior Court. The message he would like them to deliver, "We will not tolerate drunk driving in our community."