Colorado Springs police officer still recovering nearly 6 months after crash

CSPD crash investigator Nicholas Hamaker’s life changed forever last July.
Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 10:43 PM MST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2023 at 5:35 AM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - CSPD crash investigator Nicholas Hamaker’s life changed forever last July. He was hit head-on by a driver on July 26, 2022, near Union and Dublin, and spent the next 11 days in the hospital. He was in a wheelchair for months and is now able to walk with the assistance of a cane and a boot.

Hamaker has recovered remarkably well considering the extent of his injuries.

“Once I got out of my car I realized that my foot was dislocated. I couldn’t walk.”

“My right foot was shattered from the impact. I had some broken vertebrae in my lower neck. Some severe whiplash. Some nerve damage in my left arm from the airbag.”

Hamaker says that physical therapy has become a full time job since the crash. During his recovery, the case against the driver who allegedly hit him head-on has also progressed. Police believe that Cole Sherod was under the influence of methamphetamine and on parole when he hit Hamaker. Sherod pleaded guilty to vehicular assault and will be sentenced on Feb. 1.

Hamaker told me he was angry to learn about the alleged driver after the accident, but he tells me he is doing his best to focus on his own recovery.

“I think anger is probably your first emotion. That kind of runs through. But anger doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change the fact of the crash. It doesn’t change the circumstances of anything.”

“Dealing with the district attorney and their office and trying to get it adequately handled was the best thing to do. Just try to push that anger aside and do what’s best.”

The Colorado Springs Police Protective Association has been advocating that Sherod receive the maximum six-year prison sentence for vehicular assault.

“The fact that we’re looking at six years for our case I think is good. We always would like it to go higher because of his history, but it’s about what we can deal and plea with.”

Despite his condition, Hamaker has no plans to medically retire. He tells me he always wanted to work in law enforcement and he hopes that he can continue his work as a crash investigator in the future -- a servcie that he says Colorado Springs desperately needs.

“I believe we had 54 or 55 fatal crashes last year in 2022″

“There’s no sense in dying while driving on the roadway or having a family member killed. It’s horrible. Even if they are seriously injured, dealing with what I am dealing with, just months and months with no outlook. It’s horrible. Over something simple that could have been prevented.”

He says he hopes his injury can serve as a lesson for others to drive safely.

“We just ask that you put the phone down, be aware, and drive safe.”

A GofundMe to support Hamaker can be found here.