Clark County sheriff’s Deputy Drew Kennison returned to work Tuesday, five months after he was injured when his SUV was crushed Feb. 22 by a portion of a snow-heavy tree in Skamania County.
Kennison subsequently underwent surgery at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, and his left leg was amputated just above the knee. In March, he returned home from a Portland rehabilitation facility, the sheriff’s office previously said.
“From the beginning, Deputy Kennison was determined to return to work. He would accept nothing less than a full return to duty. After months of rehab and hard work, his tenacity and grit are paying off,” the sheriff’s office said in a Tuesday update.
The crash was reported at 10:14 a.m. on Washougal River Road near Salmon Falls Road, just past the Skamania County line.
Kennison was returning from a training when the upper portion of the large tree fell onto his patrol vehicle where the windshield meets the hood, the sheriff’s office said. His vehicle came to stop against another tree.
The sheriff’s office said Kennison was pinned inside his vehicle for a significant amount of time and credited the response of his fellow SWAT team members and other emergency responders with saving his life.
“I’m excited to be back,” Kennison told a room of colleagues in a video released Tuesday by the sheriff’s office. “I appreciate you all for being here. I appreciate all of the support while I was gone. I’m ready to be back and start doing some work.”
Sheriff John Horch praised Kennison’s growth and said, “You’ve been an inspiration to everybody in this room and myself.”