ALBERTVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — A state trooper struck by a car in November jogged a quarter-mile Friday for the first time since his leg was broken in the accident.
Chuck Ellis served as the ceremonial torch bearer in the Law Enforcement Torch Run to kick off the 2013 Marshall County Special Olympics.
The former Albertville City Council member was jogging December 28 as part of his required weekly training as a state trooper. A truck hit him at the intersection of West Main Street and Baltimore Avenue, and he suffered broken bones in his lower left leg.
“The break that I had was very similar to what [Louisville basketball player] Kevin Ware had. Mine didn’t break the skin but it was the same tibia and fibula break,” Ellis said.
He said he has a long metal plate in his leg. The collision also broke Ellis’s left shoulder and left shoulder blade, two ribs, his nose, and dislocated his right shoulder.
About three months into his recovery, District Attorney Steve Marshall asked Ellis if he would want to participate in the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run.
Ellis was still in a wheelchair at the time, and said he hoped to be back on his feet but didn’t know how much he could run, and told Marshall he was honored by the invitation.
What happened next surprised him.
“He said what I want you to do is to be the torch bearer to take it in to the lighting post.
“I can’t tell you how honored I am to be able to do it, just to be here five months after I got hit on November 28. To be able to do it after having the severe break that i had in my leg and my shoulders and everything else. It’s indescribable,” Ellis said.
He said seeing the kids at the Special Olympics gave him motivation, and was eager to participate in a program that has been important to him for 30 years.
“I remember back to April of 1983 when I was a senior in high school, helping those kids and doing what a lot of these high school juniors and seniors are doing today,” he said.
“To see the kids that are in wheelchairs, I can empathize with them. Because I was there, and to be able to run what little bit I ran, it’s special,” he said with tears in his eyes.
Ellis hopes to be back to work for Highway Patrol by August.