Veteran SWAT police officer Sgt. Justin Dodge was at Denver Health late Thursday for a serious leg injury afterduring the Denver Nuggets parade earlier in the day.
Dodge was working to control the crowd at 13th Avenue and Cherokee Street when one of Denver's biggest fire trucks, Tower 15, made a slow turn onto Cherokee Street. It was the final truck carrying star players Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray as well as team owners Stan and Josh Kroenke.
Some of the crowd had come through the barrier in the area and police were close by the truck. Dodge was close to the front passenger side of the truck.
"And the fire truck began to roll up the back of his left leg, trapping him beneath the vehicle," said Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas.
"The truck isn't even going a mile an hour. I mean it's creeping barely," said Brian Willie, veteran news videographer, who was there as a fan and recorded the effort to help Dodge. "I just heard a guy yell and I look and I see him going down to the ground and another SWAT officer starts banging on the truck."
It may have been unclear to the driver what had happened.
"At first you could hear the crowd like, 'Oh my gosh like, what's going on? What happened?' People on the other side of the street had no idea. Because they were still blocked off. So they were still cheering and chanting for the players that were on the truck," he recalled.
It was perhaps 15 seconds, said Willie, before the truck moved back off the officer's leg. Officers surrounded the injured officer and rendered help, including a tourniquet.
They soon lifted Dodge into a UTV to meet and ambulance to rush him to the hospital.
All the while, players looked down from the truck. Jamal Murray did his best to help from the bucket where he could see the situation below.
"At one point he starts motioning to the crowd to chill to calm down," Willie recalled. "He was concerned for the officer, you could just tell."
At Denver Health, Dodge was soon in an operating room. Dr. Stephen Wolf, director of emergency medicine says an orthopedic team was doing all it could to save Dodge's leg.
The players were taken off the truck and the scene was taped off for investigation.
Murray carried the championship trophy into the Denver City and County building, which was only about a block away, before joining the.
"It was really a sad situation for what the day was," Willie said. "For the celebration that was going on."
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