PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- A Peoria Police Officer who was paralyzed after being shot in 2005 is now being given an off-road wheelchair that'll allow him to take part in the outdoor activities he used to love.

"This is amazing, simply amazing," said Bill Weigt, now an investigator with Peoria Police Department.

December 17th, 2005, was a day that changed Weigt's life forever.

"He got out of his vehicle and just started shooting at us. And we all returned fire," Weigt said.

He had responded to a car chase tied to a drug deal gone bad and found himself in the middle of a firefight when the suspect bailed from his car.

"I did have my vest on. The bullet missed my vest and hit a rib, ricocheted, and went down to my spine. So I'm paralyzed right at the mid-chest line."

Weigt survived but couldn't do many of the things he used to enjoy. "First few months, year or so was a little rough."

But now Bill's world is about to get a whole lot bigger.

"We thought it was just a fantastic opportunity to give back," Luke Larson, President of Axon, which is gifting the TerrainHopper wheelchair to Weigt.

The folks at TerrainHopper describe them as the Jeeps of wheelchairs. Every wheel has its own motor, and they come equipped with heavy-duty suspension.

"For the people that need it, you know, it really makes a huge difference in their lives," said Zac Leos with TerrainHopper.

Weigt says he's already planning his first trip out to Lake Pleasant.

"I don't have to have my wife pushing me or my stepson or my son or, you know, you jump in this."

And while it's plenty of fun, the new set of wheels is more than just an off-road toy.

"It's another tool that a handicapped person can use in life," Weigt said. "Definitely about getting a lot more free."

 

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