WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - It's a story Region 8 News has tracked from the beginning. Last fall, a pick up truck slammed into the Walnut Ridge Police Station. The driver was killed and another man was severely injured.
In a exclusive interview Region 8 News spoke with the man who was hit by a truck and lived to tell about. Robert Rice was in the station the time of the collision and was buried underneath brick and rubble.
"I wouldn't call it nightmares, but I still do have dreams of the truck," said Robert Rice, who is the Code Enforcement/ Animal Control Officer in Walnut Ridge.
September 13th, 2011 is a day Rice will never forget. "I didn't have time to think. All I can remember was turning around and seeing the grill of the truck. I remember going unconscious for 2 to 3 minutes then waking up and being buried," said Rice.
Rice couldn't feel below his waist. "I thought I was paralyzed ," Rice said.
It wasn't until the debris was removed that Rice began to feel the extent of his injuries. "Both bones in my left leg were busted. I had four fractures to my back, 14 broken ribs and two fractures to pelvis," said Rice.
When the pick-up truck plowed into the station, Rice was knocked into a copy machine and thrown through a wall. He was sitting in a rolling chair and says the chair saved his life. "My right arms was wrapped around the inside of the arm of the chair. The chair was supporting my back and my neck," said Rice.
He was airlift to the Med in Memphis, where he was monitored for 2 weeks. Rice was told by doctors the recovery would take at least a year.
But Rice could not stay away. And barely six months later, he was on his feet and back at work.
"They're just amazed at how fast I recovered. They said it blows their mind," said Rice.
But Rice says he still has a ways to go. He checks in the with doctor every six weeks. "I still have a lot of pain, but I figure I'm going to have that for the rest of my life," said Rice.
And while his life is forever changed, Rice says he thanks God everyday. "That I'm still here and I can actually go home and see my wife and my kids," said Rice.
As far as why the driver crashed into the department? No one may ever know. Walnut Ridge Police Chief Richie Thatcher tells Region 8 News the autopsy report shows the driver died of blunt force trauma.