Greene Co. deputy heads home from hospital 11 days after suffering serious injuries in high speed chase
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -
It was a very special early Christmas present for family and friends of an injured Greene County deputy.
Lieutenant Steve Westbrook, a 24-year veteran with the department, left the hospital Tuesday after being seriously injured during a high-speed chase just south of Bolivar 11 days earlier.
Around 1 p.m. on Tuesday a large entourage of law enforcement officers surrounded the ambulance exit at Mercy hospital to welcome one of their own and provide a police escort to his home in Highlandville.
It was a moment some people thought they’d never see after the 55 year-old Westbrook was seriously injured on Highway 13 south of Bolivar on December 11th. According to the sheriff’s office 36 year-old Seth Hay was fleeing police after they tried to contact him concerning a domestic disturbance call in Springfield. When Hay drove by the victim’s house deputies attempted to stop him and he fled north towards Bolivar and then turned around.
Westbrook was stopped on the side of the road at the intersection of E. 565th and Highway 13 attempting to deploy stop sticks when Hey’s car struck Westbrook’s car, which then hit Westbrook and threw him about 50-feet.
Westbrook was airlifted to Springfield in serious condition while Hey was arrested and charged with three felony assault counts, kidnapping and resisting arrest.
But on Tuesday at Mercy hospital Westbrook took a major step on his road back to recovery as he was taken on a gurney through an area lined with applauding police officers and put into a waiting ambulance for the trip home.
About a half-hour later he arrived in the small town of Highlandville just south of Nixa where the escorting officers as well as friends and neighbors lined the streets to show their support.
“It’s fabulous! An answer to our prayers,” said Vicki Stevens, who goes to the same church as the Westbrook family. “It was devastating to us all when we got the call from Shanna, his daughter, to activate the prayer chain. We had a lot of people lifting up prayers and thoughts and positive vibes for this great family that’s always been here for us whenever we need anything big or small. Steve helped me re-home a dog that got dumped. Just any little kind of thing they can do to help they’ve always done it so we’re proud and honored to be here for him today.”
As he was taken out of the ambulance and wheeled into his house Westbrook waved to the crowd.
“Thanks for coming out,” he said. “And never break your pelvic bone!”
The pelvic bone wasn’t his only injury.
“He’s got a long road to recovery ahead of him,” said his daughter Shanna Sullivan. “There’s are several fractures in the femur and pelvis area and both of his wrists were fractured as well. But he will make a full recovery.”
Westbrook definitely still has his sense of humor.
“Per his request we told my son that he got in a fight with a giant T-Rex,” Shanna said.
The family is also turning the other cheek when it comes to the man who almost killed their loved one.
“I’ll be honest. I’ve struggled with feelings of anger,” Shanna said. “However we are praying for Mr. Hay’s family. I know this is a hard time for them as well.”
And this holiday season those who know and love Steve Westbrook definitely have something extra to be thankful for as the family’s home will be complete again.
“Absolutely,” said Vickie, her voice trembling with emotion. “In time for Christmas!”
“People all over the country have reached out to us,” Shanna added. “It’s little things like that, especially with the way the world is today, that gives you the glimpse of hope that there is goodness in the world.”
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