A Liberty County sheriff’s deputy and his family are facing a financial crisis after he was injured off-duty and now is unable to qualify for workman’s compensation or for the department’s sick pool.
Deputy Willie Davie, of Dayton, who joined the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office two years ago, was working at a second job on Monday, Sept. 27, when he suffered a fall and fractured his skull, leaving him unable to work and support his family. His wife, Nancy, told Bluebonnet News that Willie doesn’t remember a lot about the moments before his fall, but it appears that he may have been dehydrated and fainted.
She describes getting a strange phone call from him on Monday as he was working as security at the AT&T store in Baytown.
“He wasn’t making sense. He was saying other things that I couldn’t understand,” she said.
Nancy soon pieced together that a customer had found Willie lying outside, unconscious and unresponsive. He was being taken to a hospital in Baytown with unknown injuries.
“As a cop wife, getting this type of phone call is your worst fear. You don’t know what’s happened,” she said.
In Baytown, doctors discovered that Willie suffered a basilar skull fracture on his temporal lobe, the same type of injury that killed NASCAR racing legend Dale Earnhardt in 2001.
Based on Willie’s injury, it is suspected that he hit his head on the sidewalk or curb when he passed out from dehydration. From Baytown, he was transferred to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston where he underwent a test to check for brain bleeds and signs of stroke and a cardiac check to test his heart for damage.
“They couldn’t find anything on his cardiac workup. We still have no answers as to why he passed out,” Nancy said. “He was leaking spinal fluid and blood from his nose. They kept him at Hermann for a couple of days and then sent him home with me because the spinal fluid leakage had stopped.”
Still suffering headaches and fluid on the ears, along with disorientation and memory issues, all caused by the injury, Willie is off work until he gets approved for light duty by his doctors. According to Nancy, doctors say it will be at least a month before he is cleared to return to work.
“Because this happened on an extra job, he doesn’t qualify for workman’s comp. We also don’t have short term disability. The sheriff’s office has a sick pool where people can donate their time but we don’t qualify for that either because this injury occurred on an extra job,” Nancy said.
For more members of law enforcement, extra jobs – working as security for construction sites and businesses – are needed to make ends meet as most law enforcement jobs are not financially lucrative. In Willie’s case, the extra job money wasn’t “extra” at all. Nancy is unable to work as she provides daily care for their disabled daughter, Payge, who was struck by a car in 2012 as she was attempting to catch a school bus.
“Everyone is trying to help us and it’s appreciated. All of our savings were used to pay our medical deductibles. It’s a scary time and my emotions are all over the place right now,” she said.
Willie became a certified peace officer two years ago. After years of working in jobs he disliked, he finally decided to attend the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office Law Enforcement Academy. For several months, he attended evening classes five days a week after his regular day job.
“Before this, he worked at Dayton ISD as a maintenance coordinator but he left that job to pursue his dream of being a law enforcement officer,” Nancy said.
Friends and peers in law enforcement are rallying around the Davie family members to help them through this rough patch in their lives. A Go Fund Me account at https://www.gofundme.com/f/deputy-willie-davie-medical-expenses-and-finance where donations can be made. The goal is to raise $10,000.
During the month of October, LCSO employees are being given the opportunity to have a “No Shave October.” By paying a $100 fee, employees can go without shaving for the entire month. All proceeds will be given to the Davie family. Organizing this campaign is Capt. Robert Dunn. If the No Shave October event is successful, then Dunn is looking to extend it into November.
When asked if the workman’s comp and sick pool issues need to be resolved, Dunn said, “It’s a huge disservice. I just found out that our previous workman’s comp covered off-duty injuries but the new policy does not. By our calculations, he has less than two weeks of sick time accrued. Then he starts to lose paychecks.”
Another benefit is being planned by Kami Whitten, the widow of LCSO Dep. Richard Whitten, who died in 2020 after a line-of-duty shooting in 2019 that left him paralyzed. Whitten understands how the life of a peace officer’s family can be upended after an injury or death.
“The Davie family is completely left out in the cold on this one. I can understand the stress she is under. Not only does she have their daughter to care for but she has him, too. We are going to do as much as we can do to help them,” Kami said.
Working with other friends in law enforcement, she plans to organize a benefit in the coming days. As soon as those plans are finalized, an update will be posted.
“Thankfully, Liberty County [law enforcement] takes care of its own,” Kami said.