On September 27, 2018, Constable McAulay rolled out spike strips to stop the stolen sedan on Brisbane Road in Booval. The driver swerved to avoid the spikes, hitting the policeman.
The officer, who was 24 at the time, was knocked unconscious and paramedics rushed him to hospital in a critical condition.
During court proceedings, it was revealed the car hit the police officer at a speed of 76km/h.
The 16-year-old male driver and 15-year-old girl in the stolen car’s passenger seat were each charged with attempted murder and unlawful use of a motor vehicle.
Goodna Police Station officer-in-charge Sergeant Greg Shaw said during the early stages of Constable McAulay’s stay in hospital, his colleagues were not sure he would ever return to work.
“We’ve looked forward to this day for a long time and we got our mate back,” he said.
“His commitment to the recovery process, every time you went in to visit him in the hospital, he was already pushing the boundaries … doing all of the exercises.”
Constable McAulay said the isolation Queenslanders had been restricted to by the novel coronavirus was a fairly accurate summary of his life during the past 1½ years.
“[People should] find new hobbies, set new goals, just try and create your own purpose in your life, even though everything has been turned upside-down on its head at the moment,” he said.
On his return, Constable McAulay said he “couldn’t ask for a better Monday”.
“I’ve been looking forward to this moment for the past 18 months … my main goal was to get back to work and here I am, so yeah, I’m stoked,” he said.
“I think just having that mateship there and having someone in your corner fighting for you and having your back is bloody worth its weight in gold.
“I was bedridden for the first couple of months and then in a wheelchair and on crutches, I had to go through … rehabilitation, the hard yards and pain, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel now.”
In handing down his initial sentence in August last year, Judge Dennis Lynch, QC, said it was “miraculous” Constable McAulay had survived.
Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said Constable McAulay would never regain full mobility having suffered major leg injuries, as well as severe head, neck and back injuries.
Sergeant Shaw said the young officer would be eased back into his work on non-operational duties.
“Initially it will be just getting back into the workplace, checking emails, risk management and auditing property,” he said.
“As he progresses, we will be able to get him possibly into the intelligence side of things, profiling offenders and things like that.”
Toby Crockford is a breaking news reporter at the Brisbane Times