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Trafalgar officer paralyzed in a crash returns home to new challenges; fundraiser aims to help

Officer Dustin Moody's injuries from this summer's crash present mobility challenges for everyday life and getting to the doctor for rehab.

INDIANAPOLIS — There's a new effort to help a central Indiana police officer who was paralyzed in a crash while trying to keep the streets safe.

A fundraiser through the Central Indiana Police Foundation aims to get Trafalgar Police Ofc. Dustin Moody and his family a wheelchair-accessible vehicle.

The road to recovery has been long for Moody and the journey hasn't stopped.

Nearly seven months after the crash, Moody and his wife talked with 13News about the triumphs and challenges ahead. They're grateful for all the community support thus far and are humbled by the new effort to help their family.

Moody's young boys may not have the words yet for what their dad is going through. But the smiles on the faces of 4-year-old Nolan and nearly 1-year-old Bennett show they're clearly overjoyed to finally be back with him at home. 

After months of being apart, the boys are now savoring playtime with their hero.

They nearly lost him after a police pursuit this summer.

"My youngest, he was 3 months old the night of the pursuit," Moody said. "Here we are, he's turning 11 months old and we're now finally, for the first time since the crash, living together."

Credit: WTHR
Trafalgar Officer Dustin Moody is back home after being injured in a crash during a pursuit in Johnson County.

Family time for the Moodys has changed drastically. This dedicated father, husband and Trafalgar police officer is now paralyzed from the waist down.

The crash in June caused critical injuries.

It happened as Moody was trying to pull over an impaired driver who had been speeding and blew through a stop sign.

"I've always tried to go out and make a difference in the community," Moody said. "I've tried to take crime off the streets, make it safer for everyone. Unfortunately, it led to this."

Credit: Johnson Co. Sheriff
A pickup truck driver died when a pursuit involving Trafalgar Police ended in a crash in Johnson County early Saturday, June 25, 2022.

He survived the crash and, after seven months of surgeries and intense care in Chicago, he's now back home in Indiana, navigating a new normal.

"It's a lot of stress right now. Our whole world's turned upside down right now," Moody said.

Even the simple things are made more difficult now: changing the boys' diapers, helping his wife, getting into bed.

The Moodys are in a temporary apartment while their home gets renovated and made wheelchair-accessible.

Emily Moody had to leave her job teaching to care for her husband and the kids.

Just getting around is perhaps the most challenging right now: the wheelchairs, room for car seats for the kids, Dustin's height at 6 feet, 4 inches tall are all making transportation tough.

"If we were to get groceries, we can't get groceries with all of us in the car. We don't fit if we have both kids plus the manual chair, we don't have a place for our dog. Plus the stroller doesn't fit. Then the vans they kept sending were just too small. Dustin would get in the van and his head would be touching the ceiling." Emily Moody explained. "For Christmas, we rented a van, but it ended up being about $1,200 and that was just for one week."

"It would be one less thing ... we could go outside, get into the van and just go," Dustin said. 

Credit: WTHR
Trafalgar Officer Dustin Moody is back home after being injured in a crash during a pursuit in Johnson County.

Now the Central Indiana Police foundation is working to take that stress away. They've launched a fundraising drive to help, collecting donations for a van and the Moodys' needs.

"He was injured keeping our streets safe so that an innocent person wasn't injured by the impaired driver. We need to take care of him," said Lisa Rollings, Executive Director of the CIPF. "That's what we want to do so they don't have to worry financially and they have good transportation."

As a police officer and teacher, this couple is used to giving to others. Receiving help they say, isn't easy.

But the freedom of being a family again? It's what this public servant needs.

"Right now, for my family and for everything else, I'd love to be able to have one less stress off of our shoulders," Dustin Moody said. 

"Be able to just get in the car, pack up and just do what we used to do all the time," Emily added, "will help bring a little bit of normalcy back to our lives that's been lost."

Donations to help the Moody family get a wheelchair-accessible van can be made online

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