Metro-East News

Pontoon Beach officer recovering from head-on crash

The Pontoon Beach police officer injured in a head-on crash Thursday is recovering but will need several surgeries.

Pontoon Beach Mayor Mike Pagano said Officer Lee Brousseau was in surgery most of the day Thursday to fix broken bones in his legs after a head-on crash on Illinois 111 that morning.

The other car was a pickup truck driven by Daniel Bell, 33, who was killed at the scene. Police said Bell’s truck crossed into the oncoming lane and collided with Brousseau’s squad car, then burst into flames.

Brousseau, 45, was flown to a St. Louis hospital for treatment. In a Friday evening Facebook post, Pagano said he had visited Brousseau and that some of his fellow officers spent the night at the hospital with him.

“Lee is one tough man, and we are praying he makes a full recovery,” Pagano wrote. “The one thing that I know will bother Lee as he starts his recovery is the fact that he is not at work. This officer loves his job, and we love him. We will stand behind him all the way.”

On Saturday afternoon, Pagano made another Facebook post about Brousseau’s condition, saying his injuries are serious.

“He is still heavily sedated because of the severe pain ... The doctors are working hard to try and repair his body. He is a fighter. Hopefully his body will start healing.”

In the post, Pagano also wrote that Brousseau, who has three children, is known for his generosity and is “very special to a lot of people.”

“Let’s pray that today and tomorrow gets better for him. Prayers work,” he wrote.

A GoFundMe page for the family had raised more than $6,000 of the $10,000 goal as of Saturday night.

The accident was the 205th crash of 2018 in the five counties that make up Illinois State Police District 11. The village of South Roxana alone has had three residents in three separate fatal crashes in the past two weeks.

The accident remains under investigation by the Illinois State Police.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald