PHOENIX (KSAZ) - A DPS trooper is still recovering after he was hit by a suspected drunk driver back in February near Flagstaff. While Trooper Scott Armstrong has been released from the hospital, he has been dealt yet another blow.
While Trooper Armstrong was in the hospital, he learned that his partner, a 7-and-a-half-year-old Belgian Malinois named "Zorro", has cancer.
"It was crushing," said Trooper Armstrong. "It was one more blow."
On February 8, Trooper Armstrong and a sergeant were heading back from Flagstaff in a DPS box truck, after picking up dog food for the department K9s. 5 miles outside of town, Van Rothermel of Tempe slammed into the back of the truck.
Rothermel, 19, was booked on alleged DUI, aggravated assault and possession of drugs.
"All of a sudden it just exploded," Trooper Armstrong recounted. "The next thing, it was chaos. We were in a tumble. I don't know up from down. There's gravel, there's grass, glass, there's scraping. Because of my experience, I was afraid of secondary impacts. I honestly thought we were hit by a semi truck because it was so hard."
Trooper Armstrong has since had six surgeries and continues to heal. One of the highlights of his lengthy hospital stay was getting a visit from Zorro.
"To see my dog, it was fantastic. That was one of my biggest things was being away from my animals," said Trooper Armstrong.
Although this visit was sweet, it came with a devastating blow of learning that Zorro has cancer.
"Zorro is in limbo right now," said Trooper Armstrong. "He will likely be retired because of his status. He will become a pet and he'll basically become my partner and heal with me here."
Armstrong says it will be tough, but he will do what he can to get back to work. What will be tougher is facing that task with out his partner.
GoFundMe for Trooper Armstrong and Zorro