JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. - After over a year of physical rehabilitation, Deputy Gary Daughtery wants to be at the wheel of his patrol car answering calls for help across Washington County, Tennessee.
"I've been back at work for about three months now," says Daugherty. "It's been great."
Sixteen months ago he was hurled more than 50 feet by a robbery suspect's car in a high-speed chase. His leg and five ribs were broken, elbow shattered, and a lung was punctured. Click here to read more about that story.
"I knew this day would come. I was determined to get back to this point," says Daugherty.
The months he spent recovering were some of the longest and hardest this former Marine says he's ever faced. He's still waiting on doctors to give him full medical clearance and some of the scars may never heal.
They're constant, painful reminders of that January day near Jonesborough. "The hardest part is the physical difficulties in this vehicle. We pull 12 hour shifts," says Daugherty. "When I sit in that vehicle an hour or so everything tightens up. It takes a second to loosen things up."
On Wednesday the three people accused of running him over were convicted of reckless endangerment and aggravated robbery. Click here to read more about the case.
Those were lesser convictions than prosecutors had hoped for, but Daugherty says he is happy with the results. "A lot of people weren't happy with the decision that the jury had, but I am at peace with it. I'm satisfied with it, because at the end of the day we put forth the best effort, we got some serious convictions out of it. That's all we can expect," says Daugherty.
How does he feel about defendants Regionald Smith, Ashley McGraw, and Dalvin Stephens? "I don't have anything against them. [The driver] apologized to me in court, he's had a lot of time to think about that, and I accept it. I hope he does well," says Daugherty.
Deputy Daugherty missed 13 months of work. He says all of his medical bills were paid by worker's compensation insurance, and he's been told the insurance will pay for any lasting effects those injuries may have on his body.