Motorcyclist hit by APD speaks publicly for first time



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Posted on July 7, 2010 at 10:21 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 8 at 10:30 AM

The motorcyclist who was hit by an Austin police officer, speaks exclusively to KVUE.  Louis Olivier, 74, was admitted to University Medical Center at Brackenridge back on Memorial Day weekend, six weeks ago.  He is expected to be released on Thursday and taken to a rehab hospital.  But even if everything goes well medically from here on out,  and that is a big "if" at the moment, Olivier still faces another two years of rehab.

Ask Olivier how he is feeling these days and he will tell you.

"I suppose under the circumstances, I'm feeling OK," said Olivier.

Indeed, especially when you consider Olivier's been in the hospital since May 29th when he was hit by Austin Police Officer Damon Dunn.  Dash-cam video shows Dunn running the stop sign at Magazine and Lamplight Village in North Austin and colliding with Olivier who was on his motorcycle.  Police documents show Dunn was looking at his computer data terminal at the time of the accident , which knocked Olivier out of his shoes.

"I was out of it for a little over three weeks. I didn't know where I was or what I was doing," said Olivier.

Olivier suffered multiple leg fractures and the muscle below his right knee had been ripped off, requiring a muscle transfer and skin graft taken from his back. Olivier's daughter, Karen Hayden, had to make a difficult decision.

"We had to actually sit down with a surgeon and make a decision as to whether or not we were going to save his life and take the leg or keep on having the surgeries every 48 hours," said Hayden.

Eight surgeries and three weeks later her father still has his leg, for now.

"There is still a chance that muscle flap may not take, and if it doesn't take, then he's going to lose his leg," said Hayden.

Olivier was an avid golfer and tennis player, and says the thought of giving up his active lifestyle, "hurts me terribly, because I'm never going to be a man again."

As for Officer Dunn, Olivier says he has "spoken to him personally, and I just told him I don't hold a grudge against him, because I can't."

Olivier says he does hold Dunn responsible. He says he is not happy about a city ordinance that allows emergency personnel, acting in an official capacity,  to use wireless communication devices, while all other drivers are prevented from doing so.

"He comes along and causes the wreck, doing what we can't do and it's almost like the city is going to get away with it," said Olivier.

The city has a cap of $250,000 that it can pay out in instances such as these. Olivier says his medical bills probably exceeded that with the first few weeks of his hospital stay.  KVUE is told the city would like to avoid any litigation in this case, so it is working closely with Olivier's attorney to see what can be done.