Fiery Crash Victim: Mayor and City, Chief and officers continue prayers for Officer John Daily In his surgery-intensive recovery period in wake of drunk driver accident

Tom Kennedy

Officer John Daily was expected to undergo regular operations “for the next several months” in the wake of a fiery Christmas Eve collision with a suspected drunk driver on Telephone Road, his twin brother, Officer Michael Daily, told the Badge & Gun.

 

“We appreciate the continued prayers,” Michael Daily said, speaking for his family. “John right now is going through surgery just about every other day to help in the recovery of the burn wounds. He will continue those surgeries for the next couple of months.”

 

Optimism

 

Officer John Daily will remain in a coma during this period of time, his brother said.

 

HPOU members everywhere pray for his recovery as the alleged drunk driver remains quartered in the Harris County Jail.  Union President Joe Gamaldi has taken the lead in the ongoing support of Daily and his family and expressed optimism for recovery.

 

When John Daily’s partner, Officer Alonso Reid, who suffered burns on his legs and other parts of his body, was released from the hospital, Gamaldi said publicly, “I think it shows you the fighting spirit that we all have here at HPD, and I’m confident Officer Daily will be going home one day just the same.”

 

Gamaldi provided details of the accident in naming John Daily and Reid the Patrol Officer of the Month. The HPOU president also had special recognition for the civilian passer-by who responded to Officer Reid’s call for help getting out of the overturned patrol car.

 

That individual was Oscar Flores. He was recognized as the HPOU Civilian of the Month. Flores said he heard the officers yelling from inside their burning vehicle after the crash in the 10000 block of Telephone Road.

 

“I looked around for something to break the windows,” Flores told a reporter, “but I couldn’t find nothing, so I just kicked the windows open. The window busted open and I got one of the officers out.”

Reid and Flores were able to extract Daily but not before he was severely burned.

After the accident, Flores told the news media that if he had the chance to save somebody’s life, he would do it again.

 

Expressions of appreciation to Flores were spoken all over the room amid the Union’s Jan. 3 general membership meeting, the first of the year and one that saw Gamaldi and the newly elected members of the HPOU Board sworn in.

 

Gamaldi, Michael Daily and Owen Daily, the twin officers’ father, took turns speaking, offering updates and thanks for support that always includes prayers.

 

They weren’t the only individuals stepping up for encouragement and inspiration.

 

There was Police Chief Art Acevedo and Mayor Sylvester Turner, both of whom praised HPD officers for their dedication to protecting the citizens of Houston, willing to face danger on the streets every day of the year. They both reiterated the support the city and the department will provide John Daily and his family.

 

Owen Dailey gave an emotional speech before Union members, saying, “I am absolutely in awe of all of you…it is absolutely unbelievable the response you give each other. For the outpouring of support for my son, I can’t thank you people enough.”

 

Michael Daily was equally resolute in his feelings about the ongoing support for his twin brother. He took the time to remind his fellow officers that they come through no matter how daunting the challenge. He referenced the department’s response to Houstonians in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in 2017, making the point that no matter how serious the problem, whether natural or manmade, HPD officers come through – and especially for their own.

 

Facts, not Rumors

 

“I just really appreciate the officers on that (accident investigation) team  as they continue to investigate that accident,” he said. “I appreciate that and their continued prayers.”

 

The Daily recovery operation attracted other interested organizations.

 

One of them, the G-Man Association, which consists of government employees in tune with the needs of law enforcement personnel with special needs, was represented at the meeting by FBI Special Agent in-Charge Perrye  K. Turner. Turner presented Owen and Mike Daily with a $1,500 check to help defray family expenses.

 

Another, the Texas Team Foundation, a group of Navy SEALS and law enforcement personnel, serve to help service members and first responders in need of assistance. The group recently provided retired HPD Officer John Barnes, the school district police officer wounded as he shot it out with the Santa Fe High School active shooter. Barnes was credited with saving many lives when he engaged the shooter. But he sustained serious arm wounds and is undergoing a long recovery period.

 

HPD Lt. Randy Upton, a law enforcement advisory board for the Texas Team Foundation, presented the Daily family with a $2,000 check from the foundation. It’s to be used to defray what’s expected to be a long list of expenses, particularly for traveling.

 

Michael Daily was firm in his hopes that his fellow officers would not trust any rumor they heard through the ever-present grapevine. He said, “I don’t want rumors about John’s condition to prevail as factual. People will contact me if they really want to know what’s going on.”

 

He said he wanted his cell phone number published for this purpose:  925 395 3977.

 

Michael works the night shift so “I can take care of my brother during the day.” Another part of the family routine entails Owen Daily flying in from Vallejo, California, to spend a few days or a week. As he flies back home, Sylvia Dailey, the wife and mother, flies into Houston as part of this special watch.

 

“They’re interchanging,” the officer explained. “They fly in and out. Today my dad flew in and Mom flew out.” John is quartered in the burn unit in Jones Pavilion of Memorial Hermann.

 

Michael became an HPD officer through Class No. 228, which graduated in January 2017. His brother John graduated in Class 232 in October of the same year. Mike works North Shepherd, John at Southeast.