Arizona deputy shows improvement after suffering serious injuries in fall off bridge

Oct 10, 2023, 9:00 AM | Updated: Nov 27, 2023, 10:06 am

Photo via GoFundMe shows Cochise County Deputy Christopher Oletski, was injured Sept. 28, 2023, dur...

Cochise County Deputy Christopher Oletski was injured Sept. 28, 2023, during the pursuit of a human smuggling suspect near Bisbee, Arizona. (Photo via GoFundMe)

(Photo via GoFundMe)

PHOENIX — The Arizona deputy who was seriously injured when he fell off a bridge last month is making significant improvements, Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels said Monday.

“They’re calling him ‘the miracle,'” Dannels told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show.

Deputy Christopher Oletski, 43, was hurt Sept. 28 during the pursuit of a human smuggling suspect as part of the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Interdiction Team.

How was Cochise County deputy injured?

He fell about 15 feet onto his back, breaking multiple bones, while pulling up a spike strip he’d deployed to deflate the suspect’s tires on a State Route 80 bridge near the SR 90 junction, about 8 miles northwest of Bisbee.

The suspect, 47-year-old Amber Bernadette Fuaga of Maricopa, was arrested and booked into jail on counts of human smuggling and driving under the influence, with additional charges pending.

In the days after the incident, Dannels said complications had arisen and Oletski faced “significant challenges” to his recovery.

Sheriff Dannels sees improvement during hospital visit

Oletski’s situation had clearly improved when Dannels visited him in a Tucson hospital Friday.

“He’s coming back and showing improvement, speaking and things like that, that we and doctors obviously want to hear and see,” the sheriff said.

Oletiski is a three-year veteran of the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office who made his home in Sierra Vista, about 80 miles southeast of Tucson, after retiring from the Marines.

A GoFundMe campaign was established to help with the cost of medical care and family travel expenses.

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Arizona deputy shows improvement after suffering serious injuries in fall off bridge