SAN MARCOS, TX — A San Marcos officer was critically injured after she was hit by a suspected drunk driver while on duty on Saturday night.
San Marcos police said Officer Claudia Cormier was responding to a report of items in the northbound lanes of Interstate 35 that were causing a traffic hazard just before 10 p.m. Cormier was hit by a man identified as 58-year-old Neil Sheehan, of Flower Mound, who police believe was drunk.
Sheehan stopped and cooperated with law enforcement and was later arrested by Texas Department of Public Safety troopers. Sheehan was booked into the Hays County Jail for intoxication assault and failing to yield the road to the officer.
Police said his blood has been taken for testing and they are awaiting results. Sheehan has since been released from jail on bond.
San Marcos Police Chief Chase Stapp said it's a miracle that Cormier is still alive. Due to the crash, her right leg was severed just above the knee.
“Claudia is extremely driven, shes courageous, she’s gonna get through this," Stapp said. "She’s already showing us that less than three days after the accident.”
Stapp said a nurse was driving down the road just after the accident and stopped to help Cormier. The nurse was able to create a makeshift tourniquet out of a t-shirt. When more officers arrived, they applied three more tourniquets to Cormier.
Doctors said those tourniquets to Cormier's right leg saved her life, according to Stapp.
The nurse who stopped to help is currently working on the same floor in the hospital where Cormier is being cared for.
Stapp said a family driving by also stopped to help and offered Cormier emotional support.
Cormier regained consciousness for the first time after the accident on Monday. That evening she called Stapp and assured to him that she would be back on the force.
She has already had one surgery and is expected to have several more ahead of her.
"Accidents like this are preventable," Stapp said.
Cormier, from Laredo, wanted to be a police officer all her life, Stapp said. After graduating from Texas State University, Cormier joined the police department as a dispatcher in 2007. She has been a sworn officer for three years.
Stapp said her husband, who has been by her side since the accident, is also an officer with the San Marcos Police Department. He was at the scene of the crash on Saturday night.
The police department has set up a donation fund to help Cormier during her time of recovery. You can find more information on the police department's Facebook page.