Officer shot in head: 'Being disabled is sad, but it's still living'

Officer shot in head: 'Being disabled is sad, but it's still living'

Watch KVAL 13 TV News this week for more stories about near-death experiences

COOS BAY, Ore. - He was an active family man and a dedicated police officer with a bright future.

But on one fateful night just after Christmas 2004, Coos Bay native Mike Kralicek's life took a turn.

"I went to work, I was assigned to patrol, just doing regular routine activities for traffic stops and whatever calls came out," said the former North Bend, Ore., police officer.

On that night, the Couer d'Alene, Idaho, police officer responded to a fleeing suspect from a hit-and-run accident.

"The suspect managed to get into the house," Kralicek said. "He was handcuffed improperly, and he had a gun inside the house."

What happened next would change his life forever.

"I saw his face all lit up, and then that was it," he said. "I woke up in the hospital two weeks later."

It was 2005 by the time Kralicek woke up from a coma to see his wife Carrie sitting by his side in the intensive care unit.

"She told me that basically, I had been shot," he said.

Kralicek suffered a traumatic brain injury and severed spinal cord from a single gunshot wound to the head.

His prognosis wasn't good.

"The doctors told her that I'd probably never breath again on my own," he said. "I'd definitely never walk or move."

Now almost six years later, Kralicek has defied the odds.

"I was walking by that Christmas after I got home," he said.

On a recent visit back in Coos Bay with Carrie, Kralicek said he continues to make progress - but it's not an easy road.

"All my activities daily, I have to have someone else help me with," he said.

But Kralicek said that after his brush with death, he knows things could have been worse.

"Being disabled is sad," he said, "but it's still living."

Watch KVAL 13 TV News this week for more stories about near-death experiences