Officer in severe crash forgives drunk driver

HOBBS, N.M. (KRQE) – A police officer hit by a suspected drunk driver says he forgives the man who nearly killed him.

“It’s rewarding to be here still,” said New Mexico State Police Officer Carlos Verdugo.

Verdugo, 25, says he’s lucky to be alive.

“Just knowing he’s here today and able to be so strong, give back to his community and be thankful and want to go back out there and be a hero. It’s a miracle,” said Verdugo’s fiance Alexandra DeLeon.

Saturday, Verdugo was on his way to his mom’s birthday when he stopped a woman for speeding.

He was on the side of a Hobbs Highway sitting in his car writing a traffic ticket when his life changed forever.

“I didn’t remember anything after that until I woke up in the hospital,” said Verdugo.

In dash cam video from inside his car you can see Verdugo on a traffic stop.

He walks back to his car and then things go fuzzy.

Detectives say that’s because Jason Allred, 40, was drunk behind the wheel and slammed into Verdugo’s patrol unit knocking him unconscious.

He survived, but was seriously hurt.

“From the waist up everything hurts. I have bruising throughout my legs, biceps, triceps and you can see the stitches on my face,” said Verdugo.

He says he’s thankful.

“God wanted me alive and I’m still here,” he said.

Shockingly, Verdugo also says he forgives the man who almost took his life.

“God bless him,” said Verdugo.

It’s unclear when Verdugo will be able to return to work.

He says doctors told him it could be months until he’s fully recovered.

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