Crash injuries lead former soldier to new career

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Pictured: Alan Engdale and K-9 "Kid" Pictured: Alan Engdale and K-9 "Kid"

MACON COUNTY, Ill. (WAND) – A former soldier overcame a serious injury and years of pain as he found a new start in life.

Alan Engdale was stationed in Germany in the 1980s. After 5 a.m. on Nov. 19, 1988, he says he had finished a run and was walking back to base when a drunk German soldier drove into him. The injury nearly claimed his life, as doctors had to bring him back from death three times.

Engdale spent two full years in hospital care after the injury and still deals with pain every day.

“The back of my brain on the left side is severely bruised permanently, so the right side of my brain takes up the loss,” Engdale said. “I was paralyzed on the right side of my body for a while and still have limited use of my right side. From my head, three-fourths of the bones in my face were shattered.”

Engdale also nearly lost his right leg, but doctors were able to help with screws and brackets. When they removed the brackets at a VA hospital in Danville, Engdale went through the procedure without any anesthesia.

 His life is different in 2017. Engdale works in the Macon County Sheriff’s Department with the K-9 unit. He’s developed a close relationship with “Kid”, his companion at work, and has a tattoo of the dog.

He constantly preaches a message about the dangers of drinking and driving after what happened to him. He says people should “just use consideration”, adding he was “lucky” something worse didn’t happen to him. 

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