ODESSA -- It’s been four days since an Odessa Police detective was critically injured during a pursuit.
On Saturday Oct. 1st, 28-year-old Whitney Branch fell off the side of a patrol unit while chasing a suspect who was believed to be involved in a shots fired call.
Branch suffered a severe head injury and was rushed to Medical Center Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.
On Wednesday Branch was officially upgraded to serious condition, meaning she's one step closer to recovery.
Branch’s parents, Felton and Sijaama Branch, experienced firsthand what West Texas hospitality is all about.
From the second they arrived in town from Houston to be by their daughter’s side, they’ve had every need taken care of including their request for prayers.
“You never know when you come from out of town what to expect, and once we got here and just saw the overwhelming support by everyone,” Whitney’s mother Sijaama, said. “It was just like a big large family and that was most comforting for me to know that Whitney had that kind of support away from home”.
From flowers and gifts to words of encouragement, support for Whitney and her parents continues to pour in.
“You never know what to expect, you get that call and you just don’t know what you’re going to see when you arrive,” Sijaama said.
That call came in just before 3 a.m. Saturday as Sijaama and Felton were fast asleep in their Houston home. Shock set in as they were told their youngest daughter was in critical condition.
With no hesitation the couple packed their bags and rushed to be by Whitney’s side.
A few hundred miles later they walked into Medical Center Hospital and saw something, they say, they will always cherish – their daughter surrounded by her brothers and sisters in blue.
“Seeing all of that just made me so much more comfortable in knowing that she is safe out here, she’s surrounded by love, and she has a family here, and it’s her police family and it’s wonderful,” Sijaam said.
Not one second has gone by without an OPD officer standing guard over Whitney’s room, making sure she gets the care she deserves.
“Whitney, just seeing the officers coming into her room, and just being there really, just encouraged her and helped her recover just a little bit faster I think,” Whitney’s father said.
Felton and his wife say it’s the prayers that have really helped their daughter pull through.
“I want to thank God for hearing our prayers, for answering our prayers, and for bringing Whitney through,” Felton said.
Detective Branch still has a long road to recovery ahead of her, but continues to amaze her doctors and nurses every day.
In fact, Wednesday she had her first physical therapy session and will continue to have them until she is discharged.
“We got great support from the mayor, the city manager, chief of police, and the entire Odessa Police Department, they’ve just been wonderful,” Felton said. “We just wanted to thank them for all of their prayers, their generosity and compassion.”