Denver dispatcher honored for saving Lakewood officer’s life

LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- A Denver 911 dispatcher was honored Saturday in Lakewood for her role in helping save a Lakewood police agent's life.

On Aug. 2, Agent Mark O'Donnell was struck by a car while patrolling on his motorcycle near West Colfax Avenue and Vance Street.

"I was headed back to the police station to get lunch, and another driver turned left in front of me. I lost." says O'Donnell. "I knew pretty quickly I was not in good shape."

O'Donnell's helmet, boots and gun ended up scattered throughout the intersection. So, too, was his police radio. Thankfully, dispatcher Erica Limon was nearby.

"We heard the accident, and then turned to see the debris," says Limon.

Limon told her kids to wait in the car and ran to O'Donnell's side.

"Being a dispatcher, I knew how to use the radio and how to call it out," she says. "I just said 'officer down,' told them the location, and said, 'we need an ambulance as fast as we can get it.'"

Paramedics were on scene minutes later, rushing O'Donnell to the hospital, where he would spend the next few weeks.

Two weeks after the crash, he was able to meet Limon in person and thank her for her actions.

On Saturday, both received Medals of Valor from the Lakewood Elks Lodge.

"Had she not done what she did, there's a strong likelihood I'm not here," says O'Donnell.

The two have become friends and stay in touch.

O'Donnell is back at work doing light desk duty following numerous surgeries on his wrists, neck and legs.

"You always want it to be faster than it is," he says of the recovery. "But you reflect back upon the extent of injuries that I had and what the outcome should have been, and I can't ask for anything better."

He hopes to return to patrolling the streets of Lakewood once again. This time, however, he'll skip the motorcycle.

"My motorcycle days are gone," he says. "You live and learn."

Limon, meanwhile, continues to work as a Denver dispatcher. She says the recognition is not something she expected or even wanted.

"There's first responders and officers that do this every day, and don't get the recognition I'm getting today, so I almost feel guilty. But I'm happy that I was there and able to help him," Limon says.

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