A round of applause greeted longtime Riesel Police Chief Danny Krumnow as he was moved out of a Waco hospital Wednesday to be escorted home by local law enforcement.
Krumnow had been in rehabilitation therapy at Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center after severe injuries he received Oct. 11, when he was struck by a car on Highway 6 during a roadside assistance call. The wreck also killed Falls County deputy Matt Jones, who was working beside him.
Krumnow was brought out in a wheelchair in front of a group of Central Texas officers, who cheered as he appeared.
“Chief Krumnow was in our county assisting us when this happened and we lost our deputy,” Falls County Sheriff Ricky Scaman said. “It is an exciting day for us to be able to see that Chief Krumnow is going home and we are going to stand behind him and support him all the way.”
Riesel police officers, Falls County deputies, McLennan County Sheriff’s Office constables, Texas game wardens and others voiced encouragement as Krumnow was loaded into a vehicle to travel home. Although Krumnow did not say anything publicly, Riesel police Sgt. Ryan Dieterich said the support for the longtime chief was moving.
“He still has a long road ahead of him, though,” Dieterich said. “He is proud of a lot of things he’s done with the police department and he really likes to help. He’s done a lot of things for the city of Riesel. He’s been wanting to come home for a while, so he’s happy to be there.”
Dieterich said Krumnow is wearing a back brace and a full leg splint or brace. He said it was unknown if or when he may need surgery on his knee, but Krumnow was happy to go home.
A preliminary Texas Department of Public Safety report states Krumnow and Jones were checking on a crashed car on Oct. 11 and had just stepped out of their vehicles when a 21-year-old driver from Fort Worth veered across two lanes of State Highway 6.
The driver struck the two officers on the shoulder of the road, killing Jones and pinning Krumnow under another Falls County law enforcement vehicle that was parked at the scene to assist, according to reports.
Jones was buried a week after the crash following a memorial service at First Baptist Church of Woodway that drew about 1,400 people. Krumnow suffered extensive knee damage, broken ribs and a lacerated spleen in the crash and was first treated at a Temple hospital before the move to Hillcrest in Waco for eight days of rehabilitation therapy.
Riesel Mayor Kevin Hogg said Krumnow, who has been a Riesel city employee for 27 years and police chief for more than 20, is a key leader in the city. He said he hopes Krumnow will be able to return to work, and the city will continue to support its chief.
“He is making huge steps in the right direction,” Hogg said. “When it first happened, a lot of us didn’t know if he was going to make it through it, but now here he is going home already.
“It is such a blessing and I know he loves his job. Some people have said they don’t know if he is going to be able to come back, but no one thought he was going to get out of the hospital this quick either. I know he’s got a long road of recovery, but hopefully he will get to return to his job.”
Scaman said the death of Jones has been emotional for all area officers as they go about their daily duties. Memorial stickers have been designed and placed on Falls County vehicles in remembrance of Jones.
Hogg said Riesel residents are also keeping Falls County in their hearts.
“We are so happy Danny is home, but we still remember the officer they lost too,” he said. “We are still thinking and supporting them during this tragedy.”
Scaman said he was happy to see Krumnow making progress. He said Falls County will continue to support him through his ongoing rehabilitation, in the same way others have supported his staff in the last month.
“The appreciation and support we’ve received, not just locally but from across the nation, is unbelievable,” Scaman said. “It’s just amazing and has been a sight to see. The bond is always there and when you have situation like this, the bond is strengthened more and more and we definitely appreciate it.”