Denver officer hit by car during student protest awarded Purple Heart

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DENVER — The Denver police officer who was hit by car during a protest in December 2014 has been awarded the Purple Heart.

Officer John Adsit was on a bicycle protecting teenagers during a protest march on East Colfax Avenue near East High School when he was nearly killed by an out-of-control driver.

Adsit was dragged for nearly a block. He suffered a broken pelvis, broken femur, a severed artery, a collapsed lung and eye damage. Two other officers on bicycles also were hit and suffered minor injuries.

It was later determined the driver, Christopher Booker, had a seizure behind the wheel.

According to an arrest affidavit, Booker lied about his medical condition to get a driver’s license and should not have been driving. Booker was sentenced to six years of community corrections.

Adsit, underwent 18 surgeries and was finally able to return to work in August — 21 months after the accident.

“The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the police force who are seriously or critically injured while performing a police action, from attack by an assailant, personal combat or the performance of an act of valor,” the Denver Police Department said on Facebook.

“Officer Adsit experienced life-threatening injuries and has undergone numerous surgeries. Even so, he continues to exhibit tenacity and is an inspirational presence in the department and our community.”

While he was recovering, Adsit launched the nonprofit organization Adsit Strong to help injured first responders.

“The purpose of this nonprofit is to help other officers in similar situations to me … not only officers, any first responder, paramedic, firefighter. We all are going out there and putting our lives in serious jeopardy,” Adsit said.