A San Diego Police Department detective who lost part of his leg in a motorcycle crash last month is now on the mend and extremely determined to get back to his active lifestyle.
Detective James “Chappie” Hunter says he’ll soon be fitted with a prosthetic and hopes to stand and walk on his own within the next month. In the next six weeks, his goal is to run again.
On Jun. 16, Hunter’s motorcycle collided with a sedan in the 2100 block of Alpine Boulevard while off duty. He was seriously injured and transported to a local hospital via helicopter following the crash.
The detective had to have his left leg amputated below the knee. He was also treated for a broken arm and internal injuries, and released from the hospital on Jun. 20.
Hunter – a 19-year veteran of the SDPD who works on the Human Trafficking Task Force – spoke with NBC 7 on Friday, nearly two weeks after the crash.
Hunter says he’s grateful to be alive, and is already envisioning himself walking, running and fully back to his active lifestyle, which includes a passion for CrossFit.
“My whole mindset is that I see myself already in the future, that I’m going to be walking, running and eventually right back to work very soon,” Hunter told NBC 7. “The fact that I can still hug my wife and my son, what do I have to be depressed or whiny about? Let’s just get going.”
Hunter is thankful for the support he’s received from his SDPD colleagues, family, friends and total strangers in San Diego since the accident.
“I’ve had the most amazing support from friends and family, which turned into people that I didn’t even know, that were contacting me to not only wish me well, but to say I’ve been an inspiration to them,” he said. “The overwhelming love, the overwhelming support that I have received, that drives me to get better. I can’t, I don’t even know where to begin to start appreciating those people.”
Hunter says he’ll soon be fitted for a prosthetic, which will speed up his recovery – and perhaps even make him a better athlete than before.
“The prosthetics that they make these days are amazing. There’s no reason I don’t see myself even fast or stronger than I was before,” he added.
Hunter, who spent eight years on the SDPD SWAT team, says he’s set a big goal for himself. Within the next year, he wants to participate in SWAT tryouts again, not necessarily to get back on the team, but to push himself through the physical fitness part.
“The quicker I can get walking, the quicker I can get running, the quicker that I can start working with other people that are in the same position I am,” he said.
The detective says he harbors no hard feelings toward the 17-year-old driver who clipped his motorcycle in Alpine on the day of the accident. The teen was driving with her mother at the time of the crash.
“An accident is an accident. I don’t believe in a single second that she had any intention to hurt me in any way whatsoever. I instantly forgave [her and her family],” said Hunter.
Two fundraisers will be held for Hunter over the next few days.
On Saturday, CrossFit RSD will host the “Chappie Challenge” at Skyline Church in La Mesa from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
All proceeds raised at the fundraiser will go toward purchasing a prosthetic for Hunter.
On Monday, the San Diego Police Officer’s Association (SDPOA) will host “Bowling for Chappie,” a bowling fundraiser at Viejas Bowl on Willows Road from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Proceeds will go toward Hunter’s continuing recovery.
Meanwhile, the SDPOA has established a fund to help Hunter, his wife and young son. Checks should be made payable to SDPOA with “Detective Chappie Hunter” in the memo line. They can be sent to:
San Diego Police Officers Association
Widows and Orphans Fund
8388 Vickers Street
San Diego, CA 92111
Donations may also be made by contacting the SDPOA office at (858) 573-1199.