On September 28, 2023, Cochise County Sheriff Deputy Chris Oletski was in an accident that nearly took his life while in the line of duty.

“I was not Chris Oletski anymore,” he said. “I was not able to have a cognitive thought in my body. I wasnt able to recognize human presence.

Oletski fell 17 feet into a ravine after pulling back the spike he laid in the middle of State Route 80. He was helping stop a car fleeing from police after they tried to stop the vehicle twice.

“If I see a car going triple digit speeds and driving recklessly…I’m going to do what I can to protect our citizens here within Cochise County,” Oletski said.

When he fell he broke multiple bones in his body, but says at the time he was only aware of his broken pelvis because he couldn’t move, and of his broken left femur because of the pain. Oletski went unconscious while medic teams rescued him from the ravine and remained unconscious during his transport to the hospital. The deputy spent two weeks at Banner, with multiple broken bones and injuries to his brain, that affected his speech and ability to move.

When you hear third party perspectives, experts in their fields saying this quite isnt supposed to be like this. Like holy cow this is a miracle. Its a lot to process, Oletski said.

He spent a total of four weeks in Tucson before returning to Sierra Vista to continue his physical therapy and recovery.

Its no longer a fight day today but Im embracing where Im at today in comparison where I was almost six moths ago to the day, Oletski said.

He said the doctors didn’t think he’d be able to move, let alone return to work, but that didn’t stop him.

I knew I wasnt going to fail because that was my mindset and thats what I lived my entire life,” Oletski said. “My mind set is what drove me to come back.

He wanted to return to the line of duty to fulfill the oath he made as a deputy and as a veteran of the Marines. Oletski is one of a handful of CCSO deputies on the Criminal Interdiction team that focuses on human, drug and money smuggling within the county.

“We have a problem at the southern border that is ripping out my soul, but that doesn’t mean my passion for this country or my passion to protect our citizens dies because we have a problem,” he said.

Oletski says he wanted to wear his badge again to continue to protect the people of Cochise County from the cartels and their plans for smuggling drugs and people into the area.

I knew I was going to come back to being a peace officer because I believe in the safety of our citizens and I believe in the safety of the undocumented aliens, the migrants coming across the border because they are being exploited just like a lot of our citizens are being exploited, Oletski said.

He is currently assigned to light duty assignments but is working the build back his strength and mobility so he can return to full duty. And although he’s not patrolling like he was, he’s warning people who are thinking of smuggling in the county to think twice.

“I will say if you come down to Cochise County and you participate (in smuggling), I’m begging you not to, but if you do, you’re going to go to jail.”