A Pontoon Beach police officer who was seriously injured in a crash that killed one person returned home from the hospital Saturday, according to a Facebook post from the city’s mayor.
Mayor Mike Pagano said Officer Lee Brousseau moved back home after the Jan. 25 crash, where he was badly injured when a pickup swerved over the center lane of Illinois 111 and collided head-on with his squad car. The driver of the truck, 33-year-old Daniel Bell, died in the crash.
Brousseau still has many surgeries ahead of him, but the trauma team wanted to give him time to rest before performing any more, Pagano said on Facebook. He has undergone surgeries to re-align a dislocated ankle and repair his broken femur, family friend Christy Ricci told the BND. He also suffered facial fractures and broken ribs, but Ricci said he was in good spirits.
“He’s in such great physical shape, he’ll have the best outcome possible … he’s already ‘I want to get back to work, I want to get back to work,’” Ricci said. “He’s going to drive us crazy.”
Brousseau does not remember the crash or its aftermath, Ricci said.
Multiple Pontoon Beach businesses set up fundraisers, and Ricci helped start a GoFundMe page for Brousseau, which had raised more than $10,000 as of Sunday morning. Teri’s Route 66 Diner set up a fundraiser for Bell and Brousseau for Feb. 10, where 10 percent of proceeds will go to each man.
“It does my heart good to see all the support,” Pagano said. “The overwhelming support from the communities and Police Departments and Fire Departments and Ambulance Services and of coarse (sic) Arch Helicopter was off the charts.”
Bell’s family also set up a GoFundMe page to pay for his funeral services. The South Roxana man did not have life insurance or benefits, according to the GoFundMe. As of Sunday morning, it had raised more than $1,500. The Madison County Firemen’s Hall also set up a fundraiser for Bell, where some Bingo and raffle profits will go toward Bell’s funeral costs.
Bell was a mechanical for Standard Auto Body, according to his obituary. He leaves behind five children: three stepsons and a son and daughter. Memorials can be made out to the family for expenses in care of Marks Mortuary.