Ricky Caputo says he'll never get used to riding in a wheelchair.
"They're telling me is that I won't walk again, but we're staying positive on that note," he said, fighting back tears.
The 34-year-old city sanitation worker is paralyzed from the waist down, the result of a crash on Staten Island in August.
He was riding his motorcycle home from work when, he said, he was struck by a car making an illegal left turn. The driver of that unmarked car was an undercover police officer.
"I just heard that he didn't get out, he didn't administer any first aid," Caputo said. "I don't know whether he was waiting for me to die."
A caller to 911 reported the crash as minor. But Caputo had suffered 16 broken bones, his lung collapsed, and his right leg was sliced open.
Since then, he's had back surgery, as doctors inserted two rods and eight screws. He's been recovering at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in New Jersey for a month.
"I'm working on it every day, and I'm trying to put up a good fight," he said.
A police report filed the day of the accident states the officer was making a right turn onto Forest Hill Road from Ashworth Avenue. The report listed no witnesses.
But Caputo's family challenged that version of events, saying there were witnesses who claimed the officer actually had made an illegal left turn. The family accused the police of witness tampering.
A month later, the police filed an amended report. It added four witnesses who confirmed Caputo's account of a left turn, not a right.
"For somebody who's supposed to protect and serve, he didn't do any of that," Caputo said.
The Civilian Complaint Review Board and the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau are investigating. Caputo's family says it plans to sue the city and the officer for how the accident was handled.
"Whether it was a report that left out key witnesses that was later amended, whether it was only taking one statement, whether it wasn't using discretion that is normally used by a police officer to survey a situation," lawyer Anthony Forzano said.
Caputo is hoping to be discharged next Friday. He is slated to do outpatient physical therapy, and he's moving into a home that's now wheelchair-accessible.
"I'm still taking it day by day," Caputo said. "I've got to take it day by day for a long time."