A Grovetown Department of Public Safety officer who was attacked with a sharp blade a month ago says he is healing well and hoping to head back to the city streets soon.
Grovetown police Cpl. Robert Eastman will return to work soon, after recovering from a knife attack June 22.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"It can be tomorrow, I hope," Cpl. Robert Eastman said Wednesday. "But my spirits are high. That's the main thing."
Eastman has spent the past month at home healing after he was attacked and stabbed by Bill Charles Pate on June 22, police said. Pate was arrested and charged with aggravated assault.
"It's driving me crazy now. I'd rather be on the road," Eastman said, adding he didn't want to be cleared for only light duty. "I want to be on the road. I don't want to be behind a desk or in the jail or on the fire side."
Eastman, a seven-year department veteran, is now waiting for clearance from his doctors to head back to work, which he estimates will be within the next two weeks. Chief A.L. "Al" Robinson said Eastman is a public safety officer most often found patrolling the city on his bicycle when weather permits.
In his monthlong hiatus, Robinson said, Eastman has been no stranger to department headquarters on Robinson Avenue. He's been to the station for training and to visit.
"He's keeping in touch and keeping around," Robinson said. "We're all like family to him."
Police say Pate confronted Eastman at his home regarding a "domestic situation" and followed and rammed Eastman's Chevrolet Corvette with his van. Eastman said he thought that he'd been in a traffic wreck and that the man running toward his car was coming to help.
Witnesses told police Pate pulled Eastman from his vehicle and stabbed him.
Eastman was airlifted to Medical College of Georgia Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery to repair his cut jugular vein and carotid artery. He also received cuts around his neck, on his chest, back, arms and hands.
"The doctor at MCG, on three different occasions, made a point of emphasizing how lucky I am to be alive," Eastman said. "But there were two individuals that made a difference in my survival."
Eastman said just after leaving his home, he saw the city Water and Sewer Division Director Todd Baldwin checking meters for other employees who were off work. They laughed about Baldwin, a supervisor, checking meters just before the incident.
A neighbor who Eastman said he knows only as Chris was late leaving for the lake with his family on that Wednesday afternoon. After the attack, both men rushed to Eastman's aid, helping him survive until medical assistance arrived.
"They just happened to be there," Eastman said. "That's God's intervention."
Eastman said he has battled a few short bouts of depression while at home. But he said he takes every chance he can to get out of the house and tries to stay busy by playing golf and exercising, which he said can be a little more difficult than normal until he regains all his strength.
But it was the outpouring of concern for Eastman that impressed him. He said many pupils from Euchee Creek and Grovetown elementary schools, where he is a substitute teacher, have written him letters of encouragement.
"The department, they are really considerate of me," Eastman said. "The city of Grovetown, their warmth and concern have overwhelmed me. It's been difficult for me to go out and write tickets now. It's great that the whole city embraced me at this time. It's unbelievable."
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