Officer Ken Landberg of the Newburgh Heights Police Department has been off the job nearly a year.
He was critically injured in February, 2006, when an S-U-V driven by Julie Meyer slammed into his cruiser on I-77.
"I made a terrible choice to drink and drive home that night," a sobbing Meyer told a Cuyahoga County judge on Wednesday. She had pleaded guilty to drunk driving and was about to be sentenced.
Though her choice that night changed Officer Landberg's life, the policeman chose not to seek vengeance.
"I just wouldn't want to see her go to jail for that," Landberg explained, saying a prison term would cause the grieving Meyer to suffer even further.
"A prison term could cost her her job, her house, and her child," Landberg said of the 28-year-old single mother.
Even though Landberg suffered a broken shoulder, two torn rotator cuffs, 70 stitches in his skull, and had both biceps torn from his arms, he says he saw Meyer suffer enough.
"I spent 3 days in jail which seemed like an eternity," Meyer told the courtroom. "I began seeing a psychologist because I'm depressed."
"I was crying on the couch all day because all I can think about is what I've done to Officer Landberg."
On the night of February 18, 2006, Meyer had put on a gymnastics program at the local Bohemian Hall.
She's an engineer with ODOT, and worked her way through Cleveland State, earning a civil engineering degree.
After that program, she had a few beers, and rear ended Landberg's cruiser, even though he had every light on the police car flashing.
Finally, Julie Meyer, holding her face in her hands, made a last plea to Landberg, and to the judge.
"I hope you can forgive me and give me a second chance."
Judge Eileen Gallagher then sentenced Meyer to 60 days in the County Jail, with release for work. She received no prison time, but three years probation, and will be arrested if caught drinking.
Officer Landberg says he's not soft on drunk drivers. He's arrested hundreds. But he was sympathetic to the case of this first and only-time offender, and believes she'll never drink and drive again.
Landberg hopes to be recovered enough from his injuries to return to work in the next week. He'll be out there looking for drunk drivers, and advocating tough prison sentences for those who are repeat offenders.