Injured Fresno police officer is back on his bike

FRESNO, Calif.

Although he doesn't remember a thing, Officer Roberts says at the hospital after the accident he was telling everyone he planned to get back on his bike as soon as he could. After nursing some serious wounds, he lived up to his words as he returned to the job he loves.

Mike Roberts is back on his motorcycle in northwest Fresno, close to a year after an on duty accident left him critically hurt.

"I tore the cartilage in my right knee. I suffered third degree burns to my right calf and right thigh. I had five broken ribs, broken sternum, separated shoulder, and fractured my wrist." Roberts said.

Burns to his hand and a shattered elbow are visible reminders of the accident.

Once the smoke cleared, Roberts's bike was merely mangled metal. His triple layer wool pants were burned, his helmet cracked and his glove was melted.

"The burns themselves didn't hurt at all." Roberts said, "Because my nerves were burned off and dead. The skin graft was probably the most painful experience I've ever had."

The officer has no recollection of being propelled over the front of his BMW motorcycle and landing 50 feet away. And he says that's a good thing.

Roberts said, "Actually I have no memory of the incident at all. I remember going to bed Wednesday night and then I woke up Friday afternoon in the hospital."

Investigators say the driver of a Mercury Cougar turned into the officer's path as she made a left from Bullard to Fruit. The investigation concluded she was at fault.

Moments after the accident, a passerby rushed to the aide of Officer Roberts after watching a stunning sight. His leather jacket, drenched in fuel was in flames.

Roberts said, "One of the witnesses said he saw a ball of fire and a piece of fire shooting out from it. Which turned out to be me."

Roberts has since met with that witness to help piece together what happened. "I've met with him a couple times and talked about the incident and I asked him if I was conscious or unconscious and he said no you were conscious, you were asking me, am I on fire?"

The physical therapy and recovery has been long. At times, Roberts has been impatient. "It's kind of like a roller coaster. A lot of down points and a lot of high points also."

The most uplifting moments have been the comfort from family and friends.

In some ways, returning to the job is different now since Roberts rides with a whole new outlook. "There's just so many things to be grateful for. So, yeah I appreciate life now a lot more."

Roberts says his wife and kids were especially good to him. His son stepped in and did all the things Roberts usually did around the house and his daughter woke up early every day before school to help him with physical therapy.

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