Reporting Rachel Slavik
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — More than a month after an Iraq war veteran was severely injured in a hit-and-run crash, investigators are still looking for the person who was behind the wheel.
John Byro is in critical but stable, condition at Hennepin County Medical Center. He’s a marine who has been called to Iraq, twice. For the last 33 days, Dave Byro’s life has revolved around the hospital.
“Some days it gets hard driving up here. Some days it’s hard driving home,” said Dave Byro, whose son was injured in a hit-and-run crash.
The worried father won’t leave his son, John, in his time of need.
“He’s no less my son laying in the bed than he was before,” said Dave.
John arrived at HCMC with a severe head injury on Oct. 27. An unknown driver crashed into his motorcycle and left without stopping near the small southern Minnesota town of Gaylord.
“Nobody’s child deserves to be left on the road,” said Dave.
The accident nearly took John’s life, but also created a wound that extends beyond his hospital bed.
“If I see parts of John not coming back, the anger is going to be there. I’m trying not to have it there, yet, but it’s boiling,” said Dave.
The last few weeks have not been easy. Infection and other setbacks have slowed John’s recovery.
“Every head injury is different. Everybody feels differently. John has had a slow course,” said Jennifer Fury, a registered nurse at Hennepin County Medical Center.
“It’s been slow to backwards for the last four weeks. It’s time to start going ahead,” said Dave.
But in recent days, Dave has noticed signs of the old John.
“It’s good. We do thumb wrestle every little bit,” said Dave.
Healing will take months, maybe years. As an Iraq war veteran, John knows how to put up a good fight.
“Our goal, to be our Christmas present is for John to come home for Christmas,” said Dave.
John is doing well enough that his family hopes to move him to a rehabilitation center this week. The Minnesota State Patrol is still looking for the driver. There is a $5,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest.