Injured, man aims to join the police

Auxiliary officer loses leg after being hit by a car while directing traffic


From his hospital bed, where he remains in critical but stable condition, 21-year old Pieter Lucas is not about to give up his dream of becoming a Howard County police officer.

A 2002 River Hill High School graduate, Lucas was volunteering as an auxiliary police officer Thanksgiving Eve, directing traffic around an accident at the intersection of U.S. 40 and Pebble Beach Drive. Standing in the middle of westbound U.S. 40 about 6:30 p.m., Lucas was struck by a Chevrolet Blazer. The impact threw him against his own marked sport utility vehicle, shattering his legs and leaving him motionless under the Blazer's engine.

That night, surgeons at Maryland Shock Trauma Center amputated his left leg below the knee.

Lucas regained consciousness Sunday, said his sister, Anna Lucas, 23. Since then, the senior at the University of Maryland, College Park has been asking whether he can still turn in his police application on time.

"He wants to know that he has a place, so that he has something to look forward to," Anna Lucas said.

Lucas passed Howard County's written and physical tests Nov. 19. The final application was due yesterday, she said.

"We did tell him about his amputation," she said. "But we don't know if he understands what that means. He's still asking about the application. He wants to continue the process from his hospital bed."

Lucas' family doesn't know in what capacity he would be able to serve. Pins are holding together his right leg, which was broken twice in the accident and has one working blood vessel, his sister said. Doctors are "cautiously optimistic" that it will be spared.

Pieter Lucas of Glenwood will not slow down or give up - it is not his nature, those who know him said yesterday. In addition to performing support duties for the Police Department since November 2003, Lucas volunteered at the West Friendship fire station, where he was an emergency medical services lieutenant. Both jobs are unpaid.

He also worked part time for the county's Department of Recreation and Parks and at a motel on U.S. 40, all while attending college full time for a degree in criminal justice.

"He's always at the firehouse or doing police work," Anna said. "Our family never sees him."

Lucas graduated from River Hill's technology magnet program, his former guidance counselor, Annette Jackson, said. He also worked on the production crew at the school's television studio, helped build an electric car, conducted research on Civil War battlefield preservation, took four years of German, and enrolled mostly in advanced placement and gifted-and-talented classes, Jackson said.

"He was one of our top young men," she said. "At the time, he was looking at becoming an engineer, but he had many, many interests."

Anna Lucas said that her brother's hospital room is filled with balloons, stuffed animals, photos and visitors. Lucas' parents immigrated from the Netherlands during the 1970s. Other than an aunt in South Carolina, all of their relatives live in the Netherlands.

"All of the support from the local police and fire departments, even people outside Howard County's jurisdiction, has been enormously comforting," she said. "We knew he was part of the county's family, but it's been more than we ever expected."

The driver of the Chevrolet Blazer has not been charged.

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