A Detroit Lakes, Minn., tow truck operator who was seriously injured in a Sept. 9 accident while helping set up a Becker County disaster drill has undergone several surgeries while recovering at a Twin Cities hospital.Michael Smith, 44, remained in critical condition at Hennepin County Medical Center on Tuesday, said hospital spokeswoman Christine Hill. Friends and family of Smith have been keeping a journal of his progress on the Web sitecaringbridges.org.
“He is with us and for that I am praying every moment,” Smith’s wife, Julie Smith, wrote on Sunday. “There have been steps forward and just as many backwards but Mike is sustaining.”
Smith, owner and operator of Lakes County Towing in Detroit Lakes, was helping Becker County law enforcement and rescue authorities set up for the Sept. 10 drill that involved an overturned camper made from a converted school bus. The bus started rolling down a small hill at the Soo Pass Ranch near Detroit Lakes, where the disaster drill was held.
The bus rolled into Smith’s wrecker and both started going down the incline. Smith tried to jump into the cab of the wrecker to put on the brakes, but he only managed to get halfway in.
Smith was injured when the wrecker sideswiped a tree and slammed the door shut on him. He suffered a broken pelvis and his leg had to be amputated above the knee, according to the online journal.
“Mike was doing what he loves, serving his community, he loves the people of this community,” Julie Smith wrote.
Also, a benefit fund has been set up for him:
A benefit account has been set up at Bremer Bank to “help offset the massive expenditures that have been encumbered due to the result of the Sept. 9 accident, in which Mike sustained severe injuries while assisting with the disaster drill for Becker County Emergency Services,” Sheriff Tim Gordon said in the news release.
In light of Smith’s community spirit and attachment to emergency services, Gordon is asking that donations be sent in care of the Michael Smith Benefit Fund, Bremer Bank, P.O. Box 827, Detroit Lakes, MN, 56501.