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LA sheriff's deputy fighting to get back to work after losing leg in hit-and-run

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Garrett Rifkin is recovering and hoping to return to duty after losing part of his leg in a hit-and-run. (Image source: Video screenshot)

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Garrett Rifkin lost his leg in a horrific hit-and-run accident last month. Now, he's working every day to recover and return to duty.

What happened?

On Aug. 3, Rifkin was riding his motorcycle to work when he was hit by a car.

"I remember flying through the air. I remember hitting the ground," the deputy told KCAL-TV. "I remember the whole thing."

Speaking with KABC-TV, he added, " I remember looking around. I remember seeing this guy get out of his car, he looked at me, he got back in his car and took off."

Deputy Rifkin recalled to The Signal, "When they loaded me into the ambulance, I asked them, 'How bad is my foot? Are you going to be able to save it?' He told me it was one of the worst he had seen."

The extent of Rifkin's injuries led to one of his legs being amputated below the knee. He's undergone six surgeries; now has a prosthetic; and after training to walk again at the California Rehabilitation Institute, he's now staying with his parents while he continues recovering.

In the meantime, he's received calls from other law enforcement officers who are amputees.

"For the most part they are all back on duty. It's given me a lot of hope," he told KABC. "That's what pushed me — seeing these guys did it I can do it too."

What now?

Because Rifkin was on his way to work during the time of the accident and not clocked in, KABC reported that there were "some issues with workers compensation and right now all of his medical bills are not covered."

Deputy Rifkin's friends set up a GoFundMe account, asking: "Please help us in taking some of the financial pressure off of him during this already difficult time so he can focus on recovering."

As of Wednesday, the campaign had reached just over $24,000 toward its $50,000 goal.

The driver, who hit Rifkin, was apprehended the night of the crash and faces up to four years in prison. According to Garrett's LAPD officer brother, Justin, the suspect was "a felon on parole and had a warrant."

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