NJ Governor Jon Corzine may taken off a ventilator that has been helping him breathe since his Thursday night car accident on the Garden State Parkway. Yesterday, doctors removed fluid from his lungs (considered a routine procedure) successfully, and today, they will be performing another surgery to continue to clean up wounds from his left leg - when the femur broke, it punctured his skin. Corzine remains in critical but stable condition.
His family - and girlfriend, Sharon Elghanayan, a psychotherapist in Manhattan and ex-wife of Rockrose president Thomas Elghanayan - seemed more upbeat yesterday. His children said that the governor could recognize their voices and used his hands a little to communicate.
Besides the whole why-wasn't-the-governor-buckled-up debate, there are some other questions about the evening. Such as why Corzine's SUV was using emergency lights and whether the SUV was traveling at 90MPH to rush to the meeting between Don Imus and the Rutgers women's basketball team. The emergency lights may be what caused the accident - from the Star-Ledger:
When Kenneth Potts saw the flashing lights in the rearview mirror of the red pickup truck he was driving, he pulled over to the shoulder to allow the approaching vehicle to pass, according to State Police reports. But the 20-year-old restaurant worker momentarily lost control of his truck and swerved back into traffic, which caused another vehicle to force the governor's Chevrolet Suburban into a guardrail.
The Star-Ledger also had a fascinating article about Corzine's chief of staff Tom Shea and his reactions to the crash. Shea was going to avoid the call about the crash because Corzine had been bugging him all day (still, he took it because it was from Corzine's personal phone and was shocked when the aide said they were in an accident). And the article explained why Corzine was at Cooper University Hospital: It's the hospital the Secret Service designated in case of a presidential assassination attempt in southern NJ.
Photograph at left of (from left to right) Dr. Steven Ross, Dr. Robert Ostrum, and Corzine's chief of staff Tom Shea discussing Corzine's condition on Saturday; photograph at right of Corzine being transported last Thursday