A former state trooper who survived a horrific crash that ended his law enforcement career has found a new way to serve.

Lowell Russell, running as a Republican, was elected to represent the 21st district in Tennessee's state house on election night, defeating Democrat Laura Miller. That district includes Monroe and Loudon counties.

"I don't know that it's fully sunk in yet, it was really humbling," Russell said. " I'm honored to represent the 21st district and start a new chapter in my life."

In 2012, Lowell Russell was parked in his cruiser along I-40 in Knoxville when a truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and slammed into him, then the wreckage caught fire. Russell was rescued with serious injuries and recovered, but was unable to return to duty with the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

"I think things happen for a reason in our lives and when I started in law enforcement I never would have thought it would end by me ending run over by a tractor-trailer," he said.

But it is that experience Russell believes led him to run for office.

"After my crash, I just started seeking other ways to serve my community, I went around the 21st district to see what people expected from a state representative and I believed I could fulfill that," Russell said.

When he announced his candidacy, Russell said "I have always been drawn towards public service and have dedicated my entire adult life to serving my community. Having always loved aiding my fellow citizens, I began to seek out other ways to better attend to the needs of my community. I came to the conclusion I could fulfill this God-given desire by running for State Representative."

Russell won 76.87 percent of the vote against Democratic nominee Laura Miller. He said while in office he's hoping to address public safety, the economy, and small government.