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N.J. governor leaves hospital 18 days after being in crash

Associated Press • Apr 30, 2007 at 11:36 AM

CAMDEN, N.J. - An emotional Gov. Jon S. Corzine was discharged from a hospital Monday and asked forgiveness for his conduct in a crash 18 days earlier in which he was critically injured.

A teary-eyed Corzine, who was not wearing a seat belt while a passenger in a speeding sport-utility vehicle apologized for setting a bad example, especially for young people.

"I certainly hope the state will forgive me. And I'll work very hard to set the right kind of example," Corzine said from his wheelchair outside the hospital.

He was headed to the governor's mansion in Princeton, where he will continue his rehabilitation.

Senate President Richard J. Codey is acting governor until Corzine can resume his duties.

The 60-year-old governor's SUV was being driven by a state trooper at 91 mph when it was clipped by a truck and slammed into a guard rail on the Garden State Parkway. Corzine wasn't wearing his seat belt, in violation of state law.

Corzine fractured his left thigh and broke 11 ribs, his breastbone and other bones. Doctors operated on him three times and inserted a metal rod to stabilize his leg.

Medical personnel said the Democrat likely will not be able to walk without crutches or a cane for at least six months.

"I could not be more grateful for the support I've had, all the people of the state," Corzine said as he was greeted with cheers outside the hospital Monday. "Nothing counts more in life than those people who care about you all the time, in the moments of joy and the moments of pain."

The multimillionaire governor is paying for his medical treatment and recovery.

Corzine spokesman Anthony Coley said a portable chair lift will help Corzine move between floors at the 19th-century governor's mansion, which also will be outfitted with exercise equipment.

"He'll have a couple health care aides for a week or two," Coley said. "He'll also have a hospital bed for about the same time period."

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