Cop hit by car during pursuit makes 'miraculous breakthrough,' but faces long recovery
Officer Robert Golden remains in intensive care, but regained consciousness after being run over by a suspected drunk driver
By Henri Hollis
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
ATLANTA — An Atlanta police officer who was hit by a suspected drunken driver while he was in the midst of a foot chase Monday night made “a miraculous breakthrough” in the hospital early Friday morning, his friend and colleague said.
Officer Robert “Bobby” Golden remained in intensive care Friday but regained consciousness and had a long conversation with his colleague Officer Chris Mercure. Mercure, who was at Golden’s bedside, wrote about the interaction in a detailed post to a GoFundMe page benefitting Golden’s family.
The day before their conversation, Mercure had already called Golden’s progress “nothing short of miraculous” after the injured officer briefly awakened.
“He woke up for a few minutes and I was able to tell him where he is and what happened,” Mercure wrote. “I prayed over him for his continued healing before he went back to sleep.”
Golden and a man who police said was fleeing from officers were both hit by the same car Monday night.
Multiple units had been called to an Exxon gas station in the 3800 block of Jonesboro Road just before midnight after getting reports of a dispute involving an armed man, police said. When officers arrived, the suspect ran into the woods and officers established a perimeter, according to police. Golden spotted the man trying to flee on foot and chased him into the road.
The officer and the suspect, Charles Reginald Thomas, were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital after being hit by the car. Thomas suffered non-life-threatening injuries and remains in detention at Grady until he can be discharged and booked into the Fulton County Jail.
The driver, Jason Haynes, was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and other traffic offenses.
According to Mercure, Golden suddenly regained consciousness around 12:20 a.m. and began speaking to him.
“Bobby came to full awareness and he began talking with me 100% coherent,” Mercure wrote. “We talked for about an hour and a half.”
Mercure said Golden insisted he make several phone calls despite the time and that the injured officer’s main concern was the “mental welfare of those that had to see him on the initial incident scene.”
Though he did not reveal any new details about the crash, Mercure said “it CANNOT BE DENIED that God’s hand is at work in the extreme and miraculous recovery of Bobby Golden, considering the catastrophic events that unfolded.”
According to Mercure, Golden will soon be transferred from the ICU to a recovery room. He described the hospital staff’s surprise at Golden’s recovery and said nurses were asking, “Is that the same patient?”
Despite his progress. Golden still has “extensive serious injuries,” Mercure said. Golden already underwent surgery, according to Mercure, and faces a lengthy recovery. The GoFundMe account is seeking to raise $100,000 to help support his wife and three children as he heals and rehabilitates.