Officer Michael Thornton is one of our many heroes who keep the roads safe from drunk drivers; but not only that, he is also a survivor of a drunk driving crash.
Officer Thornton at the 2011 Walk Like MADD, just two months after he was hit by a drunk driver.
Before becoming a member of the San Antonio Police Department, Thornton was a Purple Heart recipient for his service in Iraq. He was injured when a bomb exploded near his Humvee in September 2006, and was transferred to San Antonio so he could receive treatment for his severe burns at Brooke Army Medical Center. After being discharged from the military in 2008, Thornton entered the local police academy.
Around 2:25 a.m. on January 22, 2011, Officer Thornton, 27, came across two stranded motorists and pulled over to help. He was hit by a drunk driver—a repeat offender with two prior arrest for drunk driving—whose truck pinned him up against his squad car before throwing him over the barrier. Despite the fact that his leg had been severed from the impact, he was able to hold on to the guard rail while the two people who he was assisting pulled him back to safety. He lost is right leg below the knee.
Thornton was fitted with a prosthetic leg and remained in the hospital for about a month before returning to work—first a temporary desk job at headquarters, and then back on patrol with the DWI task force.
In 2010, one year before he was injured by a drunk driver, Officer Thornton received an award from MADD for his outstanding work in DWI enforcement. Thornton is now actively involved with MADD South Texas and is serving as their 2012 Walk Like MADD Honorary Chairperson.
MADD supports all of our offices who keep our families safe on and off the roads, and honors those who have been killed or injured in the line of duty during this National Police Week, and every week of the year.