Sioux Falls, SD
After more than eight weeks in the hospital, South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper Andrew Steen went home Friday.
Steen was hospitalized after he was run over by a suspected drunk driver in the parking lot of a Sioux Falls strip mall on October 17. Steen suffered a traumatic brain injury and a severely broken ankle.
Just four weeks ago, family and friends thought Steen may have to stay in the hospital for another two months. Recently, Steen had the goal of getting home for Christmas and on Friday he walked out of the hospital with the assistance of crutches and cleared another hurdle in his remarkable recovery.
"Everybody here that came to see me go home, I can't say enough, so I just want to say thank you," Steen said.
Steen talked briefly about his recovery and thanked the community for their continued support.
"I've gotten thousands of people praying for me, so that saved my life," Steen said.
And just eight weeks ago Steen's parents weren't sure if their son would ever be able to walk, talk or even function on his own again.
"We were told it would probably be a minimum of six months to a year and there was even a chance he would have to go to some long-term care. He just took off; prayers and he's just had some terrific doctors and medical staff," Steen's father Dan Steen said.
The Steens credit prayer, the doctors and an outpouring of support from the community for the trooper's quick recovery.
Dozens of South Dakota Highway Patrol troopers waited at the hospital to escort the Steens home. Even the head of the Highway Patrol helped escort the family and says he looks forward to having Steen back on duty.
"It's been a long couple months but we have a lot to be hopeful for and we're looking forward to moving forward and continuing to have improvement," South Dakota Highway Patrol Colonel Craig Price said.
And with Steen leaving the hospital, it accomplishes the goal of having the trooper home by Christmas, which is something the Steens could only imagine eight weeks ago.
"It's just like having the first Christmas with a newborn baby. This is probably going to be even better," Dan Steen said.
"We got our boy back and we can't have a better gift than that," Steen's mother Tricia Steen added.