SAN MARCOS, Texas – Nearly five months after she was seriously injured by a suspected drunken driver, Officer Claudia Cormier of the San Marcos Police Department talked Friday about how the crash has changed her life.
"I stand here today thankful to be alive and blessed to work in the community of San Marcos," Cormier said while sobbing at a news conference. "May 18 has forever changed my life and those surrounding me."
Cormier responded to a call around 9:45 p.m. on May 19 for a traffic hazard on the roadway at Interstate 35 near the McCarty Overpass. When she arrived at the scene, she was struck by a Ford Expedition driven by Neil Sheehan of Flower Mound. Sheehan was suspected of driving drunk.
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The three-year veteran of the force was taken to a hospital and was in a drug-induced coma for two days. She lost one of her legs, had 20 surgeries and procedures and received 100 staples and stitches.
Despite all she has gone through, Cormier has forgiven Sheehan.
"I knew then that I could not recover or move forward if I did not remove all the negative the accident carried," she said. "After my husband and I were able to comfort each other, we decided to forgive the individuals involved and hope they could also move on with their lives. I don't want to live in hate or let the accident take anymore from me than it already had."
Cormier at times didn't think she was going to survive.
"I felt that everything that I accomplished was all I could do, and that it was my time to go. I had already come to terms that this was my last breath, and I asked the medical staff to let me go to end my suffering," she said.
Cormier thanked the medical staff and extended her gratitude for the community and her police colleagues.
She said it will take up to two years before she gets back out on the street, and Cormier said she can't wait for that moment.
You can see the entire news conference by viewing the video below.