SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio - The Canton Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating the accident that seriously injured Springfield Township Police Officer, 32-year-old Mark Dodez.
Investigators say Dodez is a 12-year-veteran of the department.
Dodez and other Springfield Township officers were searching for evidence along Arlington Road from a police chase that happened earlier in the night, when Dodez was suddenly hit.
Police say Michael Plemons, 34, of Akron, was driving the pickup truck that hit Dodez. Officials say he was hit so hard he suffered spinal cord damage and a broken arm.
Plemons was arrested and charged with drunken driving. It is Plemons' fourth drunken driving charge in 20 years. Police say Plemons' blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit when he hit Dodez.
Police say Dodez is still in ICU and recovering from surgery to his back. He is scheduled to have surgery again on Monday to repair his broken arm. Police say he remains in stable condition.
Dodez is married and has two young children.
His family issued this statement on Friday:
"On behalf of the entire Dodez family, we would like to thank all of those that have shown us their support and love in our time of need. The numerous prayers and messages of encouragement warm our hearts and carry us forward. Mark's courage and strength has carried him through his surgery and will continue to do the same through his recovery. Although we are uncertain what the future holds, we know that Mark will never cease to fight with every inch of his being. Our family is blessed to have Mark with us so that he may continue to be a HERO for his daughters Jill and Lara. Again we would like to thank everyone for their support and ask that Mark be given a place in your prayers."
A fund has been set up to assist the family. Anyone wishing to help can make a donation at any FirstMerit Bank to the Mark Dodez Benevolent Fund.
Investigators hope to release more information about this accident sometime next week.