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Man Wakes from Month-long Coma, Recovering after being hit on I-44

Imagine waking up from a deep sleep -- and realizing a month has passed by.

That's what happened to Mitch Walker, 35, after he was hit by a vehicle on I-44 near lebabnon last December.

Walker was put into a medically induced coma for about a month, but has been out of it for a few weeks and is recovering.

The man who hit Walker was Richard Sanders, 60.

Sanders kept driving and was eventually caught about 90 miles later.

That was the end of the road for Sanders, but Walker still has a journey of recovery ahead. 

"I've visited a lot of people in this hospital but it's definitely my first time having to be here for myself," says Walker.  

He has had an extended stay at Mercy Hospital. He's been there for over 50 days.

"I was getting ready to crawl underneath the trailer to get a jack under there and get everything ready and boom. I got hit. I had all my flashing lights going and all that, but sometimes people just don't pay attention," says Walker. 

 Sgt. Jason Pace with the Missouri Highway Patrol talks about how devestating the effects can be when drivers aren't paying attention. 

"We've lost many, many officers, and many highway workers and EMS personnel because of that distracted driver," Pace explains.

Pace discusses the importance of Missouri's "Move Over" law. 

 "Anytime you approach an emergency vehicle, whether it be police, EMS, wrecker operator, MODOT -- then they have to at least slow down. Proceed through with caution, and then on divided roadway -- if it's safe to do so -- change lanes." 

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case in Walker's hit-and-run, which he remembers pretty vivdley in the moments after it happened. He called 911 himself. 

"My pelvis was basically shattered. Never did lose consciousness, I was awake the whole time. I remember the ambulance getting there, and that's when I really did start to figure out that I was hurt worse than I thought," Walker recalls.

Walker was flown by helicopter to Mercy. Walker's brother, who is a Springfield Police Officer, met him at the helipad.

"He had been listening to all of the radio traffic, and so at that point, he didn't expect me to be alive when we landed," says Walker. 

He doesn't remember going into the doors of Mercy on December 19 -- and he woke up to find that Christmas and New Year's had passed, which he was hoping to spend with his wife, two boys, and his daughter. 

"There was a lot of confusion, trying to figure out where I was, why I was there. Had no idea so much time had passed," Walker explains. "Christmas break was going to be our family bonding time where we could all get together, and I slept through it, so I was pretty dissapointed about that." 

Walker is starting to regain some of his strength, but has a long way to go, and he is relying on his faith.

"Going to have to learn how to walk again I'm sure. I serve a big God, and he's got big plans, and we're going to get there," Walker says. 

Walker says he is a mechanic to make money, but his real job is preaching the gospel.

He has already had numerous requests to come and speak at churches to tell his story, which he plans to do once he gets back on his feet. 


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