Behind the Badge: IMPD officer works to return to duty after traumatic accident

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind-- The road back to the badge for IMPD officer Justin Johnson is a long one.

Last May, Officer Johnson was in a devastating car accident. He was hit by another vehicle while on his way home from work.

The accident would leave Johnson with a traumatic brain injury, and suffering side effects including memory loss, disorientation, chronic back and neck pain and nerve damage.

“From the beginning it’s been just like a nightmare through it all. All I know is that at one point I woke up feeling sore and not knowing what’s going on and just being told over and over that I was in an accident," Johnson said.

At one point, Johnson’s memory suffered so badly he had to begin to record videos just to keep track of his day to day life.

Despite all that, he’s has never given up on his goal of returning to duty.

“It’s just in his blood. He serves, he’s a service member, an Iraq veteran. He likes to help the community, that’s what he does, that’s who he is,” Johnson’s wife Aubrey said.

There’s no question that Johnson will never be the same person he once was. Doctors say he may have physical or neurological issues for the rest of his life. But through all the obstacles, there’s one thing his wife says that the accident couldn’t take away from him. A heart devoted to family and community.

“If I cant physically save somebody but I can encourage them, spiritually save them,  or just help them in some way, it’s what I want to make sure I’m at least capable of doing.”  Justin Johnson said.

“That heart in him has not changed. His heart, his drive to help and save others in need has not changed. That will never change. How he’s going to go about it that’s changed,” Aubrey Johnson said

Justin has more surgeries, and a long recovery still ahead. There’s no set timetable of when, or if he’ll ever make it back to duty.

To help Justin’s family with the toll medical bills are taking on his family, IMPD  is hosting an charity hockey game on Saturday.

For more information on the game, you can click here.

To make a donation to the Johnson family you can visit: http://www.ppocu.org/

Donations can be made in Johnson’s name.