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San Diego Detective Loses Leg in Motorcycle Accident, Maintains Incredibly Optimistic Outlook on Life

Chappie Hunter

In a week of news as trying as this week's has been, it's nice to highlight an incredible story about humanity overcoming the odds—and one man staying positive despite the odds.

Last month, San Diego police detective James "Chappie" Hunter lost his leg in an off-duty motorcycle accident. The 19-year veteran of the SDPD, who works on the Human Trafficking Task Force, was riding his motorcycle home when he crashed with a sedan driven by a teen.

Hunter broke his arm and suffered internal injuries, all of which were treated. He lost his left leg, which was amputated below the knee. Yet through it all, Chappie never lost his optimistic outlook on life.

"First of all, I could be dead and that didn't happen. Two, I could be a vegetable and that didn't happen," Hunter told U-T San Diego. "Everything about my injuries is completely repairable."

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A brief anecdote: Chappie had to be helicoptered to the hospital following the accident and his father was already there when Chappie arrived. According to his mom, Pam, Chappie, who was unconscious minutes before, came through and high-fived his dad when he arrived and told his dad he was fine

Chappie has also spoken on the teen driver that was involved in the accident: "I'm not mad at her. Accidents happen," he's quoted as saying, explaining that he would give her a big hug and tell her he's fine.

"I hope she can recover just as well as me," he continued.

"I just want to get better and make my family happy. And I want to get back to work. I want to get back to work," he told U-T San Diego days after his surgeries. "I want to go back to helping my victims and putting the bad guys away."

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That's the emotionally incredible part. But there's more:

Chappie had just been certified as a CrossFit trainer when his accident happened and, even though he has said that his biggest adjustment has been "having to hop everywhere," a mere three weeks later he was back to hitting the gym.

Hunter recorded a recent workout and it must be seen to be believed:

Three weeks!

Chappie will need two artificial legs, one for his police work (which his insurance will cover) and one for working out (which he will have to pay for himself, with more advanced limbs costing between $16,000 to $25,000). 

The San Diego Police Officers Association is helping to raise funds for Chappie, as well as his wife and son. Donations can be made to SDPOA, attention to "Detective Chappie Hunter."

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