Concord, CA – A drunk driver convicted of causing a six-vehicle pileup that severely injured an on-duty California Highway Patrol officer was sentenced to probation on Thursday, according to the department.
The incident occurred at approximately 6:15 p.m. on Jan. 15, while California Highway Patrol (CHP) Officer Martin Lendway was assisting two drivers who had been involved in a minor collision on Highway 4, The Mercury News reported.
As Officer Lendway conducted his investigation in the center median, 52-year-old Tammy Peggy Louise Walker was weaving her 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer through and around traffic, headed straight for him, the Contra Costa Herald reported.
Walker ultimately slammed into Officer Lendway’s parked patrol motorcycle, launching it into traffic, then crashed her vehicle into a Ford F-150 pickup truck.
The impact catapulted the truck into Officer Lendway and a 2014 Lexus, pinning the officer beneath the pickup and crushing both of his legs.
A total of six vehicles were involved in the pileup.
While trapped beneath the truck, Officer Lendway, an eight-year veteran of the force, calmly retrieved his cell phone from his pocket and called 911, the San Francisco Gate reported.
He was rushed to a local hospital, where he underwent multiple surgeries to repair his shattered legs.
Eighteen days later, with the use of a wheelchair, the married father-of-two was released from the hospital and finally returned home.
“Although he has a long road to recovery, he is grateful to be alive and looks forward to overcoming any obstacle ahead of him,” the CHP said at the time, according to The Mercury News. “He’s hoping to make a full recovery and return to work to do the same job he loves doing and was doing that very day he was hit and injured.”
His fellow officers even surprised him by rebuilding and repolishing his work boots, which had to be cut off of his feet after the collision, KNTV reported.
“Martin’s life is forever changed, but he is doing very well in his recovery process,” the CHP said in a Facebook post on Friday. “He still has a long road ahead of him and is not back to work yet due to his injuries. Hopefully by the end of the year we will see him back on his CHP Motorcycle - only time will tell.”
Walker was charged with driving on a suspended license, vehicular reckless driving, assault on a peace officer, and two felony counts of DUI causing great bodily injury, the San Francisco Gate reported.
Her license was already suspended for a prior DUI conviction at the time she slammed into Officer Lendway.
In the months that followed, many of Officer Lendway’s colleagues attended hearing and trial dates along with him to show “the meaning of support and CHP family,” the agency’s post read.
Walker was sentenced on Thursday.
“The defendant was found guilty of felony DUI causing major injuries [with a prior DUI conviction] and was sentenced to five years’ probation along with enrollment and completion of a treatment program,” the CHP said in a Facebook post.
At least one Facebook commenter blasted the probation sentence was an “abomination,” and said that the “judge should be disbarred.”
“Public records would show people go to jail or even prison for seemingly far less crimes...but what do we know right?” the CHP responded. “We can only put together a quality investigation and forward that to the district attorney for prosecution and then it’s up to them what happens. Thank you for your support.”