DPS officer shot during traffic stop tells story of survival

DPS officer shot during traffic stop tells story of survival

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PHOENIX -

He was shot three times during a traffic stop, but Department of Public Safety Officer Seth Meeske survived.  Now he's talking for the first time about what he went through on that day.

Back on Sept. 22, a high speed pursuit from the Phoenix metro area continued along State Route 87 just south of Payson. 

Meeske was shot after pulling over Cody Archuleta.  According to authorities, after several law enforcement agencies pursued Archuleta,  he eventually drove into a ditch and apparently shot himself in the head.

The officer told us today the shooter never even said a word.

Considering what he's been through, Officer Seth Meeske is doing ok.

"The moment I tapped on the window there were gunshots," he said. Meeske was shot 3 times -- in the forearm, thigh, and back.

"I knew that I had been hit, I felt no pain at the time."

Knowing how long it would take for an ambulance to get him, the officer decided to drive himself to the hospital, at times using only his knee. The drive to Payson Regional Medical Center was about 3 miles from the site of the shooting.

"It was a surreal drive to the hospital."

By the time he got there, his uniform and patrol car were covered in blood. From Payson, he was flown to a valley hospital. Thankfully he was wearing his bulletproof vest.

"The vest functioned properly, it stopped that bullet. There is no doubt in my mind that that bullet would have been fatal."

The officer's father, a retired DPS officer, rushed to the hospital with the rest of the family.

"The minute we made eye contact and I looked into his eyes I just had that feeling like he was going to be ok," says Ernie Meeske.

While Officer Meeske was in the hospital, Officer Robert Derango chased the shooter for nearly 40 miles. The 25-year-old had just finished training. It was his first night on the street alone and he learned a valuable lesson.

"You don't know who that person is in the car. And you have no idea what they are capable of. You have no idea what their mind set is. Routine and normal just aren't in the vocabulary for law enforcement," says Derango.

Why Archuleta fired on that officer is unclear. The investigation still isn't complete.

Meeske is expected to make a full recovery.

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