Injured sheriff’s deputy recalls fiery crash

Sgt. Trini Dean
Sgt. Trini Dean

(WMC-TV) - Shelby County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Trini Dean holds no resentment towards a teen that was driving erratically and crashed head-on into his sheriff's vehicle. Dean says that was the second time God took hold of the wheel.

Dean lived to tell his story, after the fiery crash nearly took his life October 10.

"I couldn't get the door open," he said. "I couldn't get my seatbelt off and I pushed the button on my radio. When my radio didn't come back on, I said there's no power. I'm not going to be able to get out."

Then the situation got worse.

"Then I noticed the other guy's vehicle was on fire."

The fire quickly spread to the SUV Dean was driving. He saw the flames on his dashboard.

"I heard one of the officers say, 'We need to get away from here.'"

That's when Dean began making his peace with God.

"I asked God, 'Please don't let me die in the street here but if it's my time, then I'm ready.'"

But he said God wasn't ready for him to leave this earth.

"The young officer that was right at my door - I don't know if he heard me making my peace or if he was being defiant of what the other officer said, but he told me 'I'm not giving up on you man,'" Dean said. "He just kept kicking the door, kept hitting the door with his baton. At that moment, the door popped open."

They pulled him out.

"They asked 'Are you hurt?' I said, 'Guys, I'm a double amputee.' I wanted to let them know if one of my prosthetics came off, they wouldn't drop me."

Dean lost his legs because 20 years ago on April 10 when a car pinned him as he helped a friend tow a car. He said his wife of 25 years, 4 daughters and the sheriff's office stood by him.

He returned to work four months later wearing prosthetic legs.

"I had to get up at that point," he said. "I had a young family to take care of."

Dean said the fiery images of his most recent crash are awe-inspiring.

"It's amazing. The entire passenger side of my vehicle burned. None in the driver's side burned."

He said every day God wakes him up is a gift.

"If something bad comes up, I think of how much worse it could have been."

The accident left Dean with pins in his shattered knees, a rod in his leg, broken ribs and a broken hand. But he still plans on coming back to work.

"My doctors say 90 days, but we'll see about that," he said. "We'll see about that."

The 23-year sheriff's office veteran is in therapy at the Campbell Clinic.

Artterrance Buchanan, the 18-year-old driver who slammed into Dean, will face charges when he recovers. Memphis police officers pulled him from underneath his car.

Buchanan's mom was charged for letting an unlicensed and uninsured driver use her car.

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