BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Friends and neighbors of a Baton Rouge police officer who was injured in a bad motorcycle wreck while on duty last month have gotten together to officially welcome him home from the hospital.
Many of his friends say they still can't believe Jared Neyland survived the crash on March 26, 2018. The wreck happened at the intersection of Scenic Highway and Erie Street in Baton Rouge when a pickup truck slammed into his police-issued motorcycle. The incident left his pelvis broken, the bones in his leg shattered, and multiple fractures in his arms, wrists, and back.
"They wouldn't let anybody in the first couple of days, so when we were able to get in there, I mean, to see one of your friends that way is hard," said Neyland's neighbor, Brad Varnado.
Since that time and despite everything he was up against, Neyland beat the odds. His friends say his recovery so far has been nothing short of amazing. "We're very happy with the progress that he's made, which he has to continue for four weeks when he gets home," said Adam Stoltz, another of Neyland's neighbors.
His friends came together Tuesday afternoon to put the finishing touches on a huge welcome home effort ahead of a very special milestone. Neyland will be released from the hospital Wednesday morning, officially wrapping up the first phase of his recovery. While his girlfriend, Sheri, has been by his side every step of the way, his closest friends and neighbors have been supporting him as well.
"He's just everybody's friend," Varnado added.
Apart from a large banner the group has placed in the front yard of the officer's home, they have also constantly sported 'Team Jared' shirts and bracelets the entire time he's been recovering. They, along with some area first responders, have also been working to convert a shower, build a ramp, and adjust his home to fit the wheelchair he will need to use for the next few months. The work is something his friends tell WAFB's Scottie Hunter they simply had to do.
"It's never a question or an afterthought, so when the situation happened, we didn't have to call each other and ask are we going to do something, we just started doing," said Stuart Puffer, one of Neyland's closest friends.
Known for being a great cook, the men say they cannot wait for Neyland to get back into the neighborhood and they will do whatever they can to help with his transition without hesitation. "We're just happy we have more time with him," said Stoltz.
The bond is clearly a true brotherhood that formed out of nothing more than the men just being good neighbors. The group has already planned a benefit to help Neyland with his recovery financially. The event is set to happen at Blackie's on Sullivan Road on June 16 at 11 a.m.