HPD officer injured in helicopter crash gets mobility back thanks to gifted wheelchair

HOUSTON – Since May, Houston Police Department officer and helicopter pilot, Chase Cormier has been working to recover from a helicopter crash that left his partner dead and him without the use of his legs.

“You just have to keep pushing hard. You have to stay focused mentally and physically, focused toward goals,” Cormier said.

Cormier, 35, said he remembers steering the helicopter away from an occupied apartment building to a vacant one as the helicopter went down. He remembers not feeling his legs after the crash and asking about whether they’d been severed as firefighters worked to remove him and his partner, Officer Jason Knox, from the wreckage.

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Months later, Cormier is still working to recover.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint and I truly understand what that means,” Cormier said.

Dallas non-profit organization Independence Corps is bringing Cormier one step closer to increased mobility by gifting him a Trackchair from Carlson Mobility.

Independence Corps, which “helps to restore the freedom and dignity of mobility to the nation’s wounded and disabled heroes,” purchased the nearly $14,000 chair for Cormier to help him traverse hills and uneven terrain. “You can get out there go hunting, shooting, fishing, play soccer, football, baseball, all of it from the chair,” Cormier said.

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Cormier hopes to one day fly again, but in the meantime, he has to learn to walk again.

“It’s an unknown. There’s a lot of unknown factors that are still there,” Cormier said. “I know in my soul that I’ll walk again, but there’s still a lot of unknown factors of what that will look like and what I’ll be able to recover with. It’s out of my hands but I trust in God’s hands and he’s been great and he’s blessed me so far.”

A GoFundMe page has been established to help the Cormier family with medical and other expenses, including toward building a home compliant with guidelines set in the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the post.

About the Authors:

Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli has been a digital news editor at KPRC 2 since 2018. She is a published poet and has background in creative writing and journalism. Daniela has covered events like Hurricane Harvey and the Astros World Series win. In her spare time, Daniela is an avid reader and loves to spend time with her two miniature dachshunds.

Award-winning journalist, adventure seeker, explorer, dog lover.