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Springfield officer partially paralyzed

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  • Springfield officer partially paralyzed

    SPRINGFIELD TWP OH.: Doctors say a patrolman struck by a truck on South Arlington Road last week probably won't walk again.

    Mark Dodez, 32, a 12-year police veteran, broke his arm and a vertebra in the accident Thursday that damaged his spinal cord, leaving him partially paralyzed.

    ''Even with this heavy news, I feel blessed that I still have my husband and our girls still have their dad,'' said Dodez's wife, Lisa, who wore her husband's wedding band on a chain around her neck at a news conference Tuesday at Springfield Police Department.

    The couple, who have been married for seven years, have two daughters, ages 3 and 4.

    Lisa Dodez said surgeons told her that her husband has only a 0.001 percent chance of walking again.

    ''Even though Mark is broken, he is far from out,'' she said.

    Lisa Dodez thanked doctors and nurses at Summa City Hospital in Akron and thanked their ''law enforcement family for their love and support.''

    Dodez, 32, is a former Lakemore village officer who the township hired when Springfield took over police services two years ago, said Police Chief John Smith, who also attended the news conference.

    Lisa Dodez said she hasn't been able to talk with her husband since his surgery Friday to fuse vertebrae in his spine. On Monday, Dodez went back into surgery so doctors could repair his broken arm, she said.

    Dodez is listed in serious but stable condition in the hospital's intensive care unit. On Tuesday, doctors were to begin weaning him from a ventilator, but he is still being heavily sedated for pain, his wife said.

    Mark Dodez knew he was paralyzed following the accident, his wife said.

    ''He was trying to be as positive as he could,'' she said, but he was aware he couldn't move his legs.

    Mark Dodez's mother, Barb Dodez, who described her son as ''loyal, caring and goofy,'' said he never allowed anyone else to quit.

    ''He told everybody to fight back. So, we are probably all going to throw it back at him,'' she said.

    An officer can be taught many things, but not personality, Smith said Tuesday.

    ''The first words out of his mouth was a joke,'' he said.

    Dodez was hit when he and a Summit County sheriff's deputy were searching for narcotics that a suspect might have tossed while trying to elude Springfield police Thursday evening on a poorly lit section of South Arlington Road.

    Michael Plemons, 34, of Akron, is accused of driving his 2004 Chevrolet Silverado truck left of the center line and striking Dodez, who was walking to his cruiser from the left northbound lane of Arlington Road.

    Dodez was not wearing a reflective vest. However, police say, traffic was light and two cruisers at the scene had their emergency lights on to alert traffic along the four-lane road.

    Authorities said Plemons, who was traveling southbound about 8:30 p.m., took no evasive action. Officers say Plemons left the scene, but returned a short time later to determine what he struck.

    He appeared to be intoxicated, Highway Patrol Staff Lt. Eric Sheppard said Friday.

    Plemons was arrested and charged with drunken driving — his fourth drunken-driving charge.

    Tests later set Plemons' blood-alcohol content at 0.289 percent, more than triple the state's legal limit.

    A local group of Arlington Road property owners have been trying for more than three years to get additional street lighting installed in the area, said Peggy Reed, founder of the Arlington Road Neighborhood Association.

    She said the group generally believes street lights might have prevented the tragedy.

    ''With better lighting, perhaps the officer would not have had to be out there looking for evidence with a flashlight,'' Reed said Tuesday.

    Plemons is charged with drunken driving, aggravated vehicular assault and felonious hit-skip with injuries. He is being held in the Summit County Jail.

    Court records show he has three previous convictions for drunken driving.

    To assist the family financially, the Mark Dodez Benevolent Fund has been set up at FirstMerit Bank. Donations can be made at any branch, Springfield Sgt. Eric East said.

    ''We are family and we will take care of each other,'' he said.
    It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.

  • #2
    How sad, prayers for Mark and his family and I hope they throw the book at the driver, if and when he gets out of prison he should never have the right to drive again.
    It's not that liberals are ignorant. It's just that they know so much that isn't so. Ronald Reagan


    TSA, I would rather be felt up than blown up.

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    • #3
      Very Sad.. I hope that this Police Officer will prove the doctors wrong and walk again.. Have faith with in yourself.. As for the driver.. maybe while in prison.. he walked into the prison, maybe he will roll out in a wheelchair due something happening behind bars!

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      • #4
        Very sad and hope for full recovery. Four DUIs and so toasted the asshat couldn't see the cruisers? I hope he does some serious time.

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        • #5
          Some people will never learn from their mistake. This driver should have been put away to jail for a long time.

          Praying for Officer's full recovery.

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