SAN ANTONIO – The scars are visible and the images still remain in the head of Bexar County Sheriff’s deputy Joaquin Galvan.
Galvan suffered a near-fatal crash while on-duty on July 31, 2016.
“I don’t know how I survived, and I was extremely lucky. Extremely, extremely lucky, and I really had an angel over me that day to (be able to) say I’m still here to say I survived that accident,” he said.
KSAT first introduced Galvan back in July 2015 when he graduated from the academy and asked his then-girlfriend to marry him.
Just a year later, Galvan made the news again but this time in a moment that nearly took his life.
Galvan was involved in an on-duty accident after taking a call for a white Ford Mustang driving recklessly on the city’s Northeast Side.
Galvan spotted the vehicle and tried to stop it, but the Mustang sped off, and that’s when he began the pursuit.
“I guess a vehicle came out in front of my suspect’s vehicle. He crashed into that vehicle and vehicle; he pushed that vehicle into me,” Galvan said.
Responding deputies found Galvan unresponsive with life-threatening injuries in his smashed patrol unit and quickly rushed him to a hospital.
“I broke my ankle in half. I broke my femur in half. I cracked my pelvis in two spots to the left of my pelvis. I broke my forearm in half,” Galvan said. “But I had a traumatic brain injury, too. They said I had a brain bleed, and I was in ICU (intensive care unit) for a couple of days.”
Galvan said when he first woke up in the hospital, he didn’t remember why he was in there in the first place, nor does he remember taking the call for a reckless driver.
Deputies said they found marijuana in the car after two teenagers inside the white Mustang fled the scene, but they were quickly caught moments after Galvan’s accident.
Galvan, who also served four years in the U.S. Navy prior to BCSO and is an aspiring bodybuilder, has been blogging throughout his recovery process on his Instagram page as motivation to get back on patrol and continue his SWAT team duties.
“I’m not going to let everything go. I’m exactly where I want to be,” Galvan said. “I’m in a great department, I’m in the SWAT team. That’s why I trained so hard, and everything I needed to do for my rehab, I did it beyond what I needed to do."
Galvan said the accident left him temporarily paralyzed and forced him to learn how to walk again.
After weeks of sitting on the couch recovering from the injuries that he mostly suffered on his left side of his body, Galvan said he was tired of being hopeless and decided it was time to go back to a place he also called home: the gym.
“Once I was able to walk around easily, getting around on crutches, I was like, ‘You know what man, I’m going to go the gym and I’ll work out my right side or try doing something,’” Galvan said.
“I started from resistance bands, to (lifting) 2 pounds, then 5 pounds, to 10 pounds, and little by little as time went on I started increasing my strength, my bones started healing, and I was able to get back into it,” he said.
More than a year after his accident, Galvan competed in his first-ever bodybuilding competition in his hometown of San Antonio on Oct. 7, 2017.
Two days after, Galvan was back on patrol looking at his scars and the images from his accident as a reminder not to take every day for granted.
"When I look at it, I'm kind of proud to say, 'Hey, I survived that accident' and managed to rebuild myself from that (accident). I embrace it, I don't look at it as a negative," Galvan said.
Galvan said he and his fiancée plan to get married sometime in January 2018 after pushing the initial date in October 2017 back due to the accident.