Cop who lost foot survived Iraq blast

Jan. 23, 2011 at 8:21 PM
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SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- A San Antonio police officer whose foot was cut off when a pickup truck driven by a drunken driver pinned him survived worse in Iraq, his wife says.

Physicians at Brooke Army Medical Center hope to save Michael Thornton's lower leg so he can wear a prosthesis, a police spokesman told the San Antonio Express-News.

Thornton pulled over on Interstate 35 about 2:25 a.m. Saturday to help two stranded motorists, police said. As he got flares from his patrol car, it was rear-ended by a pickup driven by Kevin Balditt. Thornton was pinned between the bumpers, then nearly flipped over the guard rail, but was pulled to safety by the motorists.

Balditt, who has two previous drunken driving arrests, is in jail in lieu of $160,000 bail.

Thornton's wife Hallie, whom he met in the Army, said he was wounded when an improvised explosive device went off by his Humvee near Baghdad in 2006. His face, hands and knees sustained second- and third-degree burns, and he endured chemical peels and skin grafts for months.

"He's a very strong person, and he wants to get back out there," she said. "He's cracking jokes and talking about how he's going to be RoboCop."

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