Omaha, NE - The last time Mark Allen walked into Omaha's police headquarters, he was in handcuffs, headed to jail. Now, nearly a decade later, Allen's coming face to face with the man who arrested him.
"I've wanted to say thank you for so long in person, you have no idea."
He's tracked down Officer Chuck Matson, now retired and asked if he'd meet to hear how things have changed since they last saw each other.
"You got one drunk driver off the road for good that night. You absolutely saved my life."
Earlier in the week KETV caught up with Allen as he arrived in Omaha to celebrate nine years of sobriety. He went to college here and later moved to Los Angeles, where he began a high-profile career producing reality shows like "Super Nanny." Between the stresses of work and a fast-paced social scene, Allen says his drinking got out of control. Then he decided to take what would be a fateful trip.
"We went downtown and had a few drinks. We ended up going to a Pancake House."
Still feeling the effects of the alcohol he had earlier, he only made it a few blocks away on Dodge Street when Matson pulled him over. Allen was arrested and charged with his third DUI. His return to Omaha ended in a court appearance, probation and fines. Finally though, a few months later back in LA, clarity, as he realized that Matson had actually done him a favor.
"Before I got stopped that night I didn't know how to stop drinking. It was the first time in my life that I really started listening and thinking I might have a problem and doing what it took to get better."
Getting better would be a long road. Friends and the community helped him get sober and stay sober. Along the way he made a promise to himself to find Matson again. Now nine years and a few phone calls, and a trip to Omaha on a major anniversary of his sobriety, Allen's making good on that promise.
Finding out inside police headquarters again, how big a role fate may have played back then and his final DUI arrest.
"I got you coming down the hill speeding. I probably wouldn't have stopped you if you had slowed down, but you went by me and kept on speeding."
Officer Matson even shows him an arrest report from that cold March night. It was one of over 300 he would file that year, but it was the only one that ended like this.
"It caught me by surprise. I've never had anyone try to contact me."
On this day, these two friends are looking back together, an unlikely meeting at an unlikely place. Two paths crossing again at an unforgettable gesture of gratitude.
"It probably is one of the biggest moments of my life. This will be in my memory banks forever."
KETV via CNN Newssource