Glendale police officer credits helmet for saving his life

A close call for a Glendale Police motorcycle officer last month could have cost him his life, but he hopes the damage left over will make anyone who rides think twice about not wearing a helmet.

It's a lesson that Officer Jason Spillers didn't necessarily need to learn.

"I would never get on a bike without a helmet because of the things I've seen" he said.

But now, the thing that he's been through comes with proof that he hopes makes a difference.

"I can't say exactly what his first," he said. "I slid on the front face of this."

It all happened in downtown Glendale just about a month ago. Officer Spillers was on his way from one shift to another when a driver, who looked like he was turning left, made a sudden turn right, instead.

"I hit the rear corner, rear passenger side corner, go up through the windshield of my bike over the trunk of his car and land on the other side," he said.

The driver took off, but amazingly, Officer Spillers went right back to work and directed traffic around the crash site until other officers arrived.

Police would eventually arrest the runaway driver, who left Officer Spillers with injuries to his back and wrist, but looking at the damage to his bike and helmet, chances are the outcome could have been much different.

"There's wrinkles, creases here and basically that from when I hit on the ground," he said.

It's a piece of equipment that may have saved Officer Spillers' life but could have also saved many more. In Arizona, the Governor's Office of Highway Safety says of the 130 motorcycle deaths in 2014, more than half of those riders weren't wearing a helmet.

"I understand it's hot out," Officer Spillers said. "I understand it's something that uncomfortable, but you're gambling with your life."

It's a potentially life-saving lesson that Officer Spillers hopes resonates with anyone who rides.

"I was lucky," he said.

It's also an image that he hopes other riders will never forget.

"Well let me rephrase that, I was blessed," he said.

Officer Spillers just started physical therapy to help with the injuries to his wrist and back, but when he recovers, he tells us he'll be getting back on his bike to patrol the streets of Glendale again.