By Heather Janssen

YUBA CITY (CBS13) – Tuesday served as a major milestone for a California Highway Patrol officer with a long recovery process.

Officer David Gordon was hit by a drunk driver on Highway 99 back in 2019. More than a year and a half later, he’s finally reporting for duty again. Admittedly, though, it’s lighter than before.

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“Actually having a purpose to get dressed, some work clothes on – it was nice,” said Officer Gordon, who is performing mainly administrative work twice a week, for a few hours a day.

He’d been waiting to return since he left UC Davis Medical Center in February 2020, after spending four months inside. The day he left, crowds of people cheered and clapped in support.

“It was emotional but it was happy at the same time,” Officer Gordon said.

He’s never forgotten that day, and the love he felt from the community. The support has stayed strong in his family’s life in the year and months that followed.

Ofc. Gordon and wife Tinna talked to CBS13.

“Great to see the support they’ve given us,” his wife, Tinna Gordon, said.

She was by his bedside and taking care of him since the day of the crash.

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In October of 2019, Officer Gordon became a victim of the kind of crash he often responded to. Police say a drunk driver, Lucas Nelson, hit him as he directed traffic on Highway 99 in Sutter County.

Court records show Nelson pleaded “no contest” to his charges, and was sentenced to a year of jail time with five years probation.

Gordon had been with CHP for 13 years at that point. He was seriously hurt after being struck and has fought on during months of recovery.

His injuries included a fractured pelvis, a broken jaw, and a broken shoulder blade. But his months of healing also led to much-needed family time. The lifelong memories made together, his wife said, made up for the memories lost in his early stages of treatment. It’s changed the way their family looks at life.

“Really, live your life like you never know what tomorrow is going to bring,” said Tinna Gordon. It’s a lesson they hope all can take away from their personal journey. But more importantly, Officer Gordon simply hopes people play it safe.

“There’s too many options out there to not drink and drive,” Officer Gordon said.

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This step in Officer Gordon’s road to recovery is another turning point in a positive direction, but he’s unsure, realistically, if he’ll ever be able to patrol again. Still, he’s hopeful. His goal, for now, is to someday log a 40-hour workweek, once again.

Heather Janssen