AUBURN HILLS (WWJ) - It’s been six weeks since Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson was hurt in a car accident in Auburn Hills and soon he expects to return to office.
Speaking live on WWJ Newsradio 950, Patterson said he is healing as expected after suffering a broken wrist, knee, hip and other cuts and bruises in the crash.
“I’m mending fine. My wrists are fine, everything else that had some degree of bruising has healed, except for the legs. My legs are going to be at least another couple of weeks,” he said.
Patterson, 73, said even though he’s been working on getting healthier during rehab sessions, he’s still been concentrating on county business – including a new three-year budget just passed by the commissioner.
“I’ve got one of my deputies here at the rehab center and we’re talking about stuff at the office and I already had a phone call with another deputy who is in Miami. So, I’m getting work out, I’m getting my input into it. But as far as being at the desk, it will still be a couple of weeks,” he said.
Patterson also hushed rumors from opponents who suggest he may not be up to continuing the job if voters wish to keep him as county executive.
“I think that’s wishful thinking by my opponents that I’m not up to it. I hate to disappoint them, but rumors of my demise are exaggerated. I’m in good shape, I’m getting better and I’ll be back to work on a full-time basis shortly. I haven’t missed a beat,” he said.
A report released from Auburn Hills police states that neither Patterson nor his 60-year-old driver were wearing seatbelts when their car collided with another vehicle at the intersection of Walton Boulevard and Opdyke Road. The report also states the driver and passenger in the other car were not wearing seatbelts.
“Why I wasn’t wearing it, it was just pure carelessness on my part. When I took longer trips, like on the expressway, I’d hook it on. But if I just took a neighborhood trip from point A to point B, I probably didn’t hook it up. I’ve come to the conclusion that neighborhood trips are as dangerous as long road trips so I’m now the poster boy for seatbelts, usage of seatbelts, and I learned a valuable lesson,” he said.
Patterson, who paid a $65 seatbelt ticket about a month after the accident, said he’s not yet sure if he’ll be taking any legal action against the other driver, 31-year-old Anthony Prainito of Royal Oak.
“We haven’t sat down yet and done any formal investigation of a lawsuit. Clearly, the man who caused the accident, we had the green light right-of-way and for some reason he pulled in front of us. He was confused about the new blinking yellow light they now have installed at the intersection and just plowed into us. We didn’t have a chance,” he said.
Prainito is facing three misdemeanor counts of moving violation causing serious impairment of a bodily function, punishable by up to 93 days in jail.
Patterson said he appreciates all of the well-wishes being sent his way, but in lieu of that he’s asking that people make donations to The Brooksie Way — a charity supporting programs that encourage healthy and active lifestyle.
“The floor at my house is looking like a florist, so we appreciate the thoughtfulness and the generosity of a bouquet of flowers, but a check in that amount to The Brooksie Way would be, I think, more important,” he said.
The Brooksie Way was named after Patterson’s 28-year-old son, Brooksie, who died in a snowmobile accident. Proceeds from the charity’s annual marathon go back into Oakland County communities. Read more, here.