I first met this guy back in 2000. He was detailed as a commercial policing officer and my company was contracted to the downtown business association to provide security. We worked with this guy a lot and I learned a lot from him. Not only is he a really great guy, but he also used to race back in the day out in the desert. Returning to Duty [ QUOTE ] Visalia police Officer Brent Miller, 33, did something this week he never thought he would do again. He drove a patrol car. "In fact, I'm driving in a police car right now," he said in a phone interview. Miller returned to regular duty almost three years after an auto collision nearly ended his career. "It's been an inspiring story," Assistant Police Chief Bob Williams said. Miller, his wife, DaneÈ, and his son Jackson were on their way to the coast in July 2001 when their car was hit head-on by a 21-year-old driver who died in the collision. Both of Miller's feet were crushed, and his lungs were bruised. His wife suffered severe head trauma, a fractured sternum and a fractured knee. Jackson, 11 months old at the time, was most seriously injured, with a skull fracture, brain damage, a brain hemorrhage, nerve damage, cuts and bruises. The family remained apart for several months in different hospitals. Jackson, now 3 1/2, is the one who has experienced the most rapid recovery. "Miraculous" is how his mother describes it. "If you were to look at him, you probably wouldn't know the difference," Brent Miller said. A recent CAT scan, he said, couldn't even locate where the skull fracture occurred. DaneÈ Miller is also recovering. She still experiences some memory loss, but it is improving. Brent Miller lost the heel of his right foot and has gone through "numerous" surgeries to restore his feet. He was sedated for the first month, and he says he does not remember how many surgeries he underwent. He says the number was between "10 and 13." About 10 months after the crash, he was back at the police department, spending up to 20 hours per week behind a desk, working on misdemeanor crimes. For a former motorcycle officer, it wasn't the kind of stimulation he was used to. Miller said he felt at first like he would never work full time or outside the office again. "The [medication] they had me on, you couldn't even drive with it, it's so heavy," he said. "It was looking like I wouldn't be able to come back." Ironically, Williams said, during his recovery Miller was in charge of securing an aggressive driving grant and making sure the money was used correctly. The grant application displayed a picture of Miller's mangled car. The grant allowed the department to focus on aggressive drivers -- those who drive erratically, usually at high speeds passing without respect to other drivers -- just like the driver who hit Miller. But after some time in the office, Miller said, he finally changed his attitude, determined to be able to drive again. First, he said he had to change his mindset. "I'm not going to let somebody who makes a stupid mistake dictate my life," he said. Then, in December, he had the surgery that changed his life. "They put implants in my legs and they ran some wires down to the nerves in my feet," he ex-plained. "It's a pain block, and I'm medication-free." Miller said before the surgery he would wake up with a pain that he rated as a "seven," but within a few hours, he said his pain level would intensify to a "10." Now, with his latest surgery, he describes the pain as "between one and three" and livable. Plus, instead of serious pain, he describes it as a tingly feeling, like when your foot falls asleep. "My feet are still a good majority metal," he said. But his feet aren't stopping him from doing what he wants to do anymore. "He's been an excellent employee whose main goal in life has been to recover from his injuries and return to full duty status," Williams said. Williams said the police department always knew Miller would be back on his feet. "For us that know Brent, the outcome of this was fairly certain," he said. "It's a very quiet, strong, steel determination." Monday was his first day in uniform and in a patrol car since the collision. Miller said he isn't used to people looking at him as he drives down the street. "Who are they looking at?" he said he asks himself. "Then it dawns on me, 'Hey I'm driving again.' It takes a minute to get back into the swing of things." His wife, DaneÈ, said she is happy for her husband, but now that he is back on patrol, she worries about him again. Since his crash, Miller said he fully appreciates the importance of car seats. "Had it not been for the car seat, [Jackson] would have been dead," he said. When he sees a child not properly restrained, he won't hesitate to pull that car over, he said. "As adults we can make decisions whether we want to protect ourselves or not, but your kids don't have a choice," Miller said. "It's my job to tell you what you are doing wrong and help you fix it." Email this story Originally published Thursday, March 4, 2004 [/ QUOTE ] What the story doesn't say is that the driver that died was working for a beer distributor and was in a company S-10. The accident occured because he tried to pass a semi-truck on a two-lane highway. This cop and his family was in a Dodge Durango. The Durango was destroyed in the crash. This is one of the good guys in uniform.