Carver County deputy lucky to be alive, forgiving of driver who crossed line

He doesn't remember anything about the head-on crash that nearly took his life late last month, but even in a wheelchair, Carver County Deputy Erick Boder says he harbors no hard feelings toward the driver who hit him. Boder was working the night shift on Jan. 22 when the crash happened -- an impact so intense, it knocked three wheels off of his squad car and altered his life, at least temporarily.

"The things I was able to do by myself 3 weeks ago, I can't do today," Deputy Boder said, sitting alongside his children on an evening of homework. "I won't be walking for at least 3 months."

Solving Nate and Emily's math problems is a pleasant break from what truly could be missing from this equation. Deputy Boder almost lost his life.

"It's amazing how much damage was sustained to the vehicle," he said. "I'm probably pretty lucky to be here, honestly."

The night of the crash, Deputy Boder headed north on the S-curve on County Road 11 when a 46-year-old Carver, Minn. man heading south missed the curve, crossed the centerline and struck Boder's squad car head-on.

"It took them over an hour just to get me cut out of my car," Boder said.

Boder suffered cracked ribs, lower spinal injuries, a displaced kneecap and a shattered femur. When his wife, Jen, got the news, she rushed to her husband's side.

"That was the worst moment of my life," she said.

Jen and Erick met when they were teens, and haven't parted since. They've been married 11 years.

"I'm just so thankful that he's still here," she said. "I know it's so hard for him -- he can't sleep at bed at night, he can't get comfortable with the ribs, and with the back. I feel so horrible for him, but yet I think at least you're here. At least you're here. I can hold your hand, we can sit together on the couch, and watch something. And you're here."

Boder will have to re-learn to walk, but doctors expect a full recovery and a return to light duty in a little as 3 months.

"I don't know the guy that hit me, but a lot of the deputies do and it sounds like he's a positive member of the community," Boder said. "He maybe fell asleep, closed his eyes, made a mistake."

It was 10 years ago this month when Boder started with the Carver County sheriff's department. After healing up, he's looking forward to getting back to work, but maybe not before making good on his family vacation plans. Since the accident, the Boders had to postpone their trip to Disneyland.