Texas officer loses leg after being struck by suspected intoxicated driver

Police say the impact from the vehicle instantly severed the officer's leg


Mark D. Wilson
Austin American-Statesman

SAN MARCOS, Texas —  A San Marcos police officer who was critically injured after being hit by a suspected drunken driver on Saturday night lost her leg in the crash but has vowed to return to the force.

Officer Claudia Cormier, a three-year veteran of the department, had been dispatched to a traffic hazard on Interstate 35 just north of the McCarty Lane overpass around 9:40 p.m. Saturday. She arrived at 9:45 p.m., but moments later, police began receiving a flood of calls that an officer had been hurt.

Officer Claudia Cormier (Photo/ San Marcos Police Department)
Officer Claudia Cormier (Photo/ San Marcos Police Department)

San Marcos Police Chief Chase Stapp said the impact from the vehicle instantly severed Cormier's leg. Police officers — including Cormier's husband, a San Marcos cop also on duty that night — rushed to the scene. A nurse from Seton Medical Center Hays who happened to be passing by stopped to help.

The nurse used T-shirts to fashion makeshift tourniquets to stop the bleeding, an act that likely saved the officer's life, Stapp said. Other officers who arrived shortly after applied three more tourniquets before emergency medical crews took Cormier to Seton Medical Center Hays, where she underwent surgery.

Texas Department of Public Safety troopers also responded to the crash to assist San Marcos police and arrested the driver, identified by authorities as Neil Sheehan, 58.

Sheehan has been charged with intoxication assault on a public servant and failure to slow causing serious bodily injury. He was booked into the Hays County Jail and later released on bail.

Stapp said Cormier regained consciousness Monday for the first time since the incident.

"Claudia is doing as well as can be expected, and, in fact, better than most had expected, I think, considering the severity of the injuries she sustained Saturday night," Stapp said.

Stapp said Cormier spoke with him late Monday through video chat and assured him that she would be back.

"She's got a long road ahead of her," Stapp said. "This is a devastating injury, but Claudia is a fighter, she is courageous, she's strong."

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©2019 Austin American-Statesman, Texas

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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