Injured Trooper Warns Drivers To Be Aware On The Road

HARRISON COUNTY (WLOX) --  "I was one of those people that had a busy life out there, then all of a sudden it stopped, real quick," said Mississippi State Trooper Jeff Cunningham.

June 19, 2008 is a day he will never forget.

"I was on a motorcycle detail, going to a wreck that afternoon, and had a motorcycle wreck. A lady pulled out in front of me, and I hit the van she was in. She was driving a Dodge Caravan," he said.

It's been nearly two months since the accident in New Albany, Mississippi, and while he's had a tremendous outpouring of support, the road to his recovery hasn't been easy. In fact, some say the fact he's still alive defies the odds.

"I sustained several injuries, a broken leg, a compound fracture, a broken collarbone, ribs. I broke my arm in three places. I broke my neck and ripped the carotid artery in my neck," Cunningham said.

A blood clot formed in his neck and saved his life. Now he hopes his message will save others.

"People have to be aware that we're out there, or any motorcycle's out there, not only motorcycles, but pedestrians, bicycles," he said.

Cunningham says he plans to one day ride again as part of the Highway Patrol's Motor Team. For now, he hopes his story will cause people to stop and reflect.

"I want to make sure knowing from the other side of the road now, what people actually go though, and to make people more aware of what's out there, and to help people slow down, and say just slow down a little bit, and I'm not just talking about speed wise, I'm talking about your life. Just a little bit. Be aware. If you're a little more aware of what's going on out there, it could save some body's life," Cunningham said.

People from all across the state are expected to come together for a benefit ride for Jeff Cunningham.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol-escorted benefit ride will begin in Tupelo and end in Bay St. Louis with a shrimp boil at the Hollywood Casino. The benefit is scheduled for September 13. Everyone is invited to take part.