PEORIA, Ariz. — On Dec. 17 2005, while responding to the scene of a drug deal gone bad, Officer Bill Weigt found himself in the line of fire.
“The bullet missed my vest, hit a rib and ricochet and went down my spine so I’m paralyzed at the mid chest down,” said Weigt recalling the incident that changed his life.
Weigt was pulled from the line of fire by his fellow officers and brought to safety. After spending the next few months in the hospital and recovery, Weight returned to duty as an investigator with the Peoria Police Department.
On Friday, a Scottsdale based company called Axon teamed up with Tempe based terrain hopper to help Officer Weigt choose a off road mobility wheelchair.
Axon is a company that typically specializes in the production of police body cameras and tasers.
Weigt's new chair is called the Overlander 4ZS, equipped with four, 750-watt electric motors. It also has 4-wheel independent suspension and extras like lights, blinkers, wench, and horns. The off-road wheelchair was designed by Todd Lemay, CEO of TerrainHopper USA and ASU graduate.
Lemay specializes in electric wheelchairs because he also relies on one.
President of Axon Luke Larson sponsored Weigt through the TerrainHoppers' For Heroes Program.
The program gives mobility challenged veterans, first responders and everyday heroes the opportunity to regain their freedom by giving them a specialized chair.
“Police officers put themselves at risk every single day, so I think it’s important to highlight the bravery and service of officers like Bill Weigt and his partner to ensure that we take care of them,” said Larson.
“I don’t know how my name came up but it’s a blessing," said Weigt. He said he looks forward to going on hikes with his wife. “She likes to walk them and stuff, so now we get to do that.”