Prince George’s police officer Bashua Olaseha doesn’t remember much about the day a minivan struck him and landed on his chest during a routine traffic call May. But now, after spending 30 days in the hospital recovering from the incident, he knows it’s an experience he never wants to relive.
Olaseha returned Friday to the police station where he’s assigned for the first time after the crash that left him with a concussion, lacerated liver, burns and a collapsed lung. Laughing, mostly healthy and in good spirits two months later, he shared details of the incident as he visited with squad mates and commanders.
“I miss hanging out with the guys,” Olaseha said. “I miss work.”
Olaseha has been out of commission since the morning a minivan crashed into a line of police cruisers and hit him along the side of the road near Pennsylvania Avenue and Walters Lane. Olaseha dove into a ditch to get out of the way, but the minivan pinned him to the ground.
“I’m thankful that it wasn’t a dump truck,” said Olaseha, who remembers the sounds of screeching tires but little else from the crash. “The first four or five days were literally just a blur.”
On Friday, Olaseha met with the police department’s top officials.
“It’s the first time I’ve seen you standing up in a while!” Chief Mark A. Magaw joked after giving Olaseha a hug.
Chief Magaw welcomes Ofc. Olaseha @ HQ after his crash: "This is the 1st time I've seen you standing up in a while!" pic.twitter.com/DK6D0c48wF— PGPDNEWS (@PGPDNews) July 11, 2014
Both Magaw and Deputy Chief Hank Stawinski urged him to fully recover and rest before returning to work, knowing Olaseha is eager to return to duty.
“I want to make sure I retain everything,” said Olaseha, who has been on the force for a year and a half.
“You have to let your body heal,” Magaw said.
By Olaseha’s side Friday were officers Eric Guerra and Dave Hardester, who were also with Olaseha during the crash. Guerra and Hardester were able to safely jump out of the way of the minivan speeding toward them that day in May. After learning Olaseha was trapped under the van, they ran over, trying to push the vehicle off of their colleague.
“I didn’t know if he was still alive,” said Guerra, who visited Olaseha in the hospital daily along with other squad mates.
Officer Bashua Olaseha visits with his colleagues after getting hit by a minivan during a traffic stop in May. pic.twitter.com/BlKrVgPZXR— Lynh Bui (@ByLynhBui) July 11, 2014
Olaseha said his ribs and his left knee still must fully heal before doctors give him the green light to return to work, which could be sometime next year. In the meantime, he’s doing a lot of reading, a lot of TV watching and a lot of physical rehab
“I’m very blessed,” Olaseha said. “I guess I got a second chance.”