The officer injured in a fatal head-on crash is out of ICU and eager to get back to work, a family friend said, and a GoFundMe account has been set up to help his family through his recovery.
The GoFundMe page raised around $8,100 in five days and is one of many fundraisers for Pontoon Beach Police Officer Lee Brousseau, said family friend Christy Ricci, who helped start the fundraiser.
Brousseau was badly injured while on duty when a pickup swerved over the center lane of Illinois 111 and collided head-on with Brousseau’s squad car Jan. 25. The driver of the truck, 33-year-old Daniel Bell, died in the crash.
The officers is still being treated at Saint Louis University Hospital, Ricci said on Thursday. She noted he had been moved out of the intensive care unit.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Brousseau’s undergone surgeries to re-align a dislocated ankle and repair his broken femur, she said.
Ricci is a registered nurse who works at a hospital; she does not work at SLU Hospital, she said.
“They put on external fixation ... a cast and hardware that’s sticking out to hold everything in place,” she said.
Brousseau also suffered broken ribs and facial fractures but he is in good spirits, Ricci said. Facial surgery had been planned for Wednesday, but swelling was still too significant for the facial surgery.
It’s painful for him, Ricci said, but Brousseau is tough. He has a winning record in fighting in Mixed Martial Arts, and recently started working as a personal trainer, she said.
His family and friends seem confident in his ability to recover.
“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!”
She said the youngest two Brousseau children have not seen their dad; hospital policy restricts visitors younger than 18 during this particular flu season. The officer’s wife and 18-year-old stepson are able to visit and are relying on a network of friends and family for support, Ricci said.
Ricci said Brousseau does not remember the crash or its aftermath.
“He’s in really good spirits, obviously to be an MMA fighter you have to have discipline, unlike any of us,” she said. “He’s going to be the best patient they can imagine.”
Bell’s family also has a GoFundMe page of “Daniel Bell Funeral Services,” as of Thursday morning it had raised a little more than $1,300. The South Roxana man did not have life insurance or benefits, the page says.