‘He wants to go home’: Wheelchair-bound firefighter works to recover after being injured in crash

Ghadi Cole was riding his motorcycle when he was hit by a vehicle while sitting at a red light.
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 11:55 AM PDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO/Gray News) - A firefighter in Ohio is continuing to recover after police said he was hit by a drunk driver last month.

WOIO reports 44-year-old Ghadi Cole has speech, physical and occupational therapy everyday at the Metro Health Rehabilitation Institute.

Cole was riding his motorcycle the night of May 12 when he was hit by a vehicle while sitting at a red light.

Police say 52-year-old Ali Akram, who was drunk, smacked into Cole’s motorcycle. He has been charged with two counts of aggravated vehicular assault and two counts of OVI, according to officials.

After the crash, Cole had 40 staples in his head, which have since been removed. He also suffered a damaged spinal cord and double vision in his right eye.

Cole’s mother, Claudette Cole, said watching him go through therapy is “grueling” and “hard to watch.”

“He doesn’t even want to come outside because it reminds him of what he could do, he would be doing,” she said.

Claudette Cole said her son is emotionally fragile after the crash, so a family member, friend or firefighter is at his bedside 24/7.

“We try to keep his spirits up so he has the energy to fight,” Claudette Cole said.

Ghadi Cole also has not seen his 12-year-old daughter since the accident.

“He’s kind of not wanting her to be frightened by his appearance,” Claudette Cole said.

Ghadi Cole has been with the Cleveland Fire Department for more than two decades and Oakwood Fire Department for 19 years part-time.

Ghadi Cole’s coworkers are planning to prep his house for his return.

“They’re talking about looking at a ramp to get into the house and what they need to do in the house to make it ready for him,” Claudette Cole said.

Ghadi Cole is adjusting to life in a wheelchair, but his mother believes he will walk again.

“I have to believe that. Because if you won’t believe, it won’t happen,” Claudette Cole said.

Ghadi Cole wants to come home on June 30, his 45th birthday. However, doctors believe he will be ready to leave July 6.