TOWN OF BUCHANAN - Despite losing part of his leg in a crash, a Wisconsin State Patrol trooper says he still has his eyes set on the future. And in his immediate future is help from his community.
Using a cane, State Trooper Justin Hansen walked into the Buchanan Town Hall Thursday. It was no small task for a man who less than three months ago had part of his right leg amputated. But Hansen says his disability won't stop him from getting back on the road.
"I want to be out there helping my troopmates, hopefully we won't have any more winter storms yet, but it's really hard sitting at home,” said Hansen.
Hansen was responding to a crash near Winchester Road in Neenah in January. The State Patrol says road conditions were slippery at the time. Hansen was getting traffic cones from the back of his car when he was struck and pinned between the two vehicles.
Brian Wood is the man Hansen stopped to help. And Wood in turn was the first person to help Hansen.
"I heard the crash and I looked in my rear view and saw he was sideways,” said Wood.
Now Wood is also doing something else to help Hansen and his family.
Wood who owns 1 Bar in Kaukauna is holding a benefit for Trooper Hansen and his family on April 19. And since the accident, Wood says the Hansen’s have almost become like family.
"We've actually become quite close, I've been to their house a couple times to talk to them and I am so, so proud of him,” said Wood.
And Hansen's wife Katie says she knows he'll be back on the road soon.
"Ever since he got out of ICU, his first questions were, when can I go back to work?” she said.
Hansen says he still has months of physical therapy and questions about how he'll be able to drive. But he says it's just another challenge he'll overcome.
"It's like how am I supposed to drive the car? But there are a lot of adaptations that they do with the left foot accelerator; they also have hand controls as well. But it's good to know there is definitely a good opportunity for me to return to the job."
The State Patrol says the investigation into the crash has not been completed, but that the driver of the car that struck Hansen could still receive a ticket.