MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - On Sept. 6, 2018, deputy Caleb Brooks and Lt. Danny Kelso were responding to a domestic call near Falkville. They were assisting Falkville police.
They left the domestic call and were headed east down Highway 55 when an oncoming car, in their lane, came straight for them.
“They were at a high-rated speed and they were already on our side of the road, and by the time me and Brooks could even see anything so we just braced for impact," Kelso said.
Brooks says there was no way to avoid the crash.
“The last thing I remember was we were at the intersection and Kelso put his hand in front of me and said ‘you better watch out’,” Brooks explained.
Brooks, who was driving, says the car hit his patrol car so hard, they flew 200 yards from the impact.
When things calmed down, Brooks went to ask Kelso if he was okay.
“I don’t think that I can feel my legs. It was numb, my whole left side of my body, I couldn’t feel,” Kelso explained.
It was then, Brooks saw his patrol car on fire. He says he got out, dragged Kelso out of the car, and called 911.
A call he never thought he’d have to make for himself or his co-worker. The officers were both in complete shock.
Brooks walked away with a few scratches, but little did Kelso know, he had a year or more of surgeries ahead of him.
“My hip was broken and my leg had a compound fracture down to my ankle,” Kelso said.
Kelso had immediate surgery and spent several days in the intensive care unit. He was in rehab for weeks before he was released home.
WAFF 48 News went back to the crash site with Kelso and Brooks this week in honor of the year anniversary.
“It’s my first time being back. It looks different than that night we were there, hearing all the commotion and working on everyone that was here,” Kelso said.
He says, it feels like yesterday.
Brooks says it took a while for him to be able to come back.
“I drive past it all the time on shift, but it took me a while to be okay with coming back by here,” Brooks continued.
“I think about it every time I get in a vehicle, and I think about it every day that I come to work. I wouldn’t have thought in my 20 years of law enforcement, that I would never be a victim, on-duty, of something that every day is routine for us to attempt to stop.," Kelso said.
The deputies have a message for you.
“If you’re going to drink, if you’re gonna do drugs, if you’re gonna do anything that’s gonna impair your driving, be cautious of your surroundings,” Kelso said.
Kelso says he can never thank Brooks enough for being with him that night.
“Deputy Brooks is my hero. I mean, I owe deputy Brooks my life,” Kelso said.
A year later and Brooks has been back on patrol for months.
As for Kelso, he just finished surgery number three Thursday, Sept. 5. He had an ankle fusion.
He says he’s thankful for the sheriff’s office for letting him come back to work, even if it’s just administrative duties.