When Anna Krone was wheeled into the lobby of the rehabilitation facility in which she is recovering she was momentarily distracted by television cameras and reporters set up waiting for her.
“Oh,” she said, giving the assembled looky-loos a quick once over. She craned her neck to peer past the window and into the parking lot.
“Where are they?” she wanted to know.
It would be a while before they — Chula Vista police officers Curtis Chancellor and Casey Rose — would arrive, so Krone chatted with cameramen, glancing frequently toward the entrance.
According to police, in November Krone, 46, was struck by an alleged drunk driver and pinned between two vehicles.
For Krone that moment in time became a jumbled mass of contradictions as it accelerated and slowed down all at once, the pain of her crushed legs more excruciating than childbirth and kidney stones combined, she said.
Among her most vivid memories, she said, was the hand of the officer who held hers in that life-changing moment. And the memory of another numbing pain enveloping her as Chancellor and Rose applied tourniquets to her legs.
“I knew as soon as they said ‘tourniquets’ it was bad,” she said. Bad enough that her life was on the line.
But that was then. Now Krone wanted to focus on thanking the two officers who saved her life. Her two heroes.
When finally she catches a glimpse of two dark uniforms making their way toward her in the lobby Krone’s voice chokes up.
“There they are,” she says more to herself than to anyone around her. She reaches up and pulls Rose and then Chancellor down toward her, clutching them and thanking them for saving her life. The cops with their vests, badges, dark uniforms and sidearms are imposing. They are figures of authority and command. But for a moment they seem embarrassed by the attention. Sheepish about receiving praise and gratitude for doing their job. For being regarded as heroes.
Krone tells them that when she is finished with her rehabilitation she wants to treat them to a nice meal at the Hotel del Coronado, an offer to host the three of them that was made courtesy of the management there.
The “heroes” thank her but suggest, instead, she take her family to dinner when the time is right. They are the ones who deserve the afternoon out, they tell her, because they are the ones who have been with her day and night and it is her family who will continue to be by her side.
And while they would have enjoyed staying a bit longer to chat with Krone, Chancellor and Rose tell her they have to get back to their shift, two cops doing their job.