FARMINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — A Farmington police officer who was injured during a chase returned to work Monday — almost exactly one year to the day of the crash that left him unable to walk.

Officer James O’Donnell was pinned between the suspect’s stolen vehicle and his own cruiser after responding to a call about catalytic converter thefts on Sept. 20, 2021. The crash broke multiple bones, with Chief Paul Melanson noting at the time that O’Donnell “is lucky to be alive.”

Video of the scene shows the driver, 32-year-old Pedro Acevedo, of New Britain, take off after the crash. He was later arrested and charged with felony assault.

“I told the chief right then and there that night in the emergency room that I was going to come back. My sacrum was shattered my pelvis broken in four places and I have two broken bones in my foot as well,” said Ofc. O’Donnell.

Two months later, O’Donnell joined the call for juvenile justice reform.

“They told us under no circumstances would he ever be able to run again. His spine was severed right off the sacrum he could not feel his legs,” said Kris O’Donnell, James’ wife.

O’Donnell never went without support from his fellow officers, family, and members of the local community.

“My phone from when I was in the hospital all the way through light duty, my phone never stopped blowing up from all of my coworkers checking in on me making sure I’m good and that is the reason I wanted to come back one way or another,” said O’Donnell.

The Farmington Police Department was ecstatic to welcome him back with open arms after his miraculous recovery one year after his injury on Monday.

“When you see a guy grind like that comeback, it reinvigorates you and to get him back as a boost for everybody including me,” said Farmington Police Chief Colin Ryan.

During his recovery, O’Donnell never gave up hope. While O’Donnell was learning how to walk again, he also was working towards his master’s. He is set to graduate this fall with a degree in digital forensics investigation.