Jay's last quote is a hoot!
Dardenne says he was belted in, not distracted
He says he wasn't on phone during wreck
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
By Jan Moller
BATON ROUGE -- Secretary of State Jay Dardenne was wearing a seat belt and was not talking on a cell phone or using his BlackBerry when he collided with another car Monday morning, he said in a statement released by his office Tuesday.
Dardenne, 53, is recovering at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge after losing control of his 1998 Infiniti while driving to work on eastbound Interstate 12 near the Interstate 10 split.
Dardenne suffered fractured ribs and a slight concussion, and is expected to undergo surgery next week to address a pelvic fracture and a compressed disc in his lower back.
"I am in good spirits and I am expecting to make a full recovery, but I won't be jogging for a few months," Dardenne said.
According to a Baton Rouge police spokesman, Dardenne was driving in the highway's center lane when he drifted to his right and collided with another vehicle. He then overcorrected, and the vehicle cut left across the eastbound lanes before coming to rest in a drainage ditch in the median.
Although Dardenne said he doesn't remember the impact or the immediate aftermath, he said he was "not on my cell phone or my BlackBerry, as was speculated in some media reports, and I was wearing my seat belt."
The longtime Republican officeholder said he plans to seek re-election to a four-year term as secretary of state after winning a special election last year. He also has been mentioned as a possible challenger to U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who is up for re-election in 2008.
In a telephone interview from the hospital Dardenne said he expects to be on his feet "within a couple of days" after the surgery, and that a complete recovery could take up to six months. But he expects to be back in his office "at least on an intermittent basis" by the end of August, and said he is in daily communication with his staff about office operations.
"Fortunately I don't have any cognitive disabilities other than what some may say existed before the accident," Dardenne said.
Although the rehabilitation will mean less travel and fewer public appearances as he campaigns for a second term, Dardenne said he still plans to open a campaign office this week and that other GOP officeholders have already volunteered to make appearances on his behalf.