San Marcos police officer loses leg after hit by driver suspected of being drunk

By Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist

SAN MARCOS, Texas - A San Marcos police officer hit by a suspected drunken driver late Saturday night lost her leg in the auto-pedestrian crash, San Marcos police chief Chase Stapp said during a Tuesday press conference.

Stapp said many things fell into place that allowed Officer Claudia Cormier to survive the crash, which occurred on Interstate 35 near the McCarty Overpass around 9:45 p.m.

According to Stapp, one of the first people to render aid to Cormier after she was hit by 59-year-old Neil Sheehan was a nurse who works at the hospital where Cormier is currently recovering. The nurse, Stapp said, applied several makeshift tourniquets to Cormier's injuries, including her leg.

Stapp said when officers arrived at the scene, they applied more tourniquets. Medical professionals said "unequivocally" that the tourniquets saved Cormier's life.

"Several things have fallen into place that essentially saved Claudia's life, and it's nothing short of a miracle that these things have happened," Stapp said.

Cormier was taken to an area hospital and underwent emergency surgery. She regained consciousness Monday and immediately began asking for friends, Stapp said. 

Stapp said Cormier contacted him on FaceTime Monday saying she would return to work after she recovers.

"That was encouraging for me to hear and definitely made my night," Stapp said. "She's got a long road ahead of her. This is a devastating injury, but Claudia is a fighter. She's courageous, she's strong."

Cormier has several surgeries ahead of her, Stapp said.

"Accidents like this are preventable," Stapp said. "There's a law in place intended to prevent accidents tlike this and that is when you see a police vehicle or a tow truck pulled over on the shoulder of the roadway, you're supposed to vacate the lane closest to that vehicle, or slow down 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit if you cannot vacate the lane. 

"I want to plead with people to please do that. That can save a life and prevent crashes like this. And also it goes without saying, I want to remind everybody it's not safe -- it's never safe -- to drink and drive."

Stapp said Tuesday that Sheehan was released from jail after posting bond. He is facing charges of intoxication assault on a public servant, a second-degree felony, and failure to slow, causing serious bodily injury, according to police.

Courtesy: Hays County Jail

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