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RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota Highway Patrol trooper severely injured in a traffic stop assault says he has no qualms about returning to a law enforcement career.

Zachary Bader was assaulted Oct. 24 while making a traffic stop on Interstate 90 east of Rapid City. He suffered serious injuries to his head and face and continues to recover. Four Washington state residents are charged in the incident, including a man who’s accused of attempted murder.

The husband and father of three little girls tells KELO-TV ( ) that he anticipates his first traffic stop after he returns to work might be a little hard. But he says the “overwhelming” support he’s received during his recovery reinforces his desire to serve the public.

Bader has more surgery ahead before he can return to work.

“I got four or five plates in my face, for the jaw stuff,” he said. “I had to have my mouth wired shut for, I believe, for four weeks.”

Bader’s supervisor, Sgt. Matt Oxner, says the attack represents a low-percentage reality of a trooper’s life, with many stops on the open road often miles from backup.

“This is a dangerous job, and obviously we all know that,” Oxner said.

It’s a rare but real possibility Bader said he’ll have to live with, without letting it change who he is out on the highway as he deals with people.

“That’ll probably be the most important part, is to get back out there and treat people the way I’ve always tried to treat them,” Bader said. “And 99.9 percent of the time you’re going to get that respect and everything will work out the way it normally does.”


Information from: KELO-TV,