Motorcycle Accident Victim Fortunate to Be Alive

By Denise Jackson

October 27, 2011 Updated Oct 27, 2011 at 9:38 PM CDT

EAST PEORIA, Ill. -- An East Peoria man, who was critically injured while on his motorcycle three weeks ago, says he feels fortunate to be alive.

John Butterfield went home from the hospital Thursday.

The quick action of two good Samaritans before rescue crews arrived, may have saved Butterfield's life earlier this month.

Surrounded by family and hospital staff 40 year old John Butterfield was discharged from OSF St. Francis Medical Center Thursday.

The East Peoria man was critically injured when a pickup truck driver rear ended him at the intersection of Wisconsin and War Memorial, October 6th in a three vehicle accident.

Butterfield's girlfriend, Amanda DuPage, says he was on his way to see her when the accident happened.

"When I got that phone call it was so horrifying. I called his dad right after. I was on my way cause he was on his way to come see me at work to visit me at lunch. It's difficult watching him go through something like this," DuPage said.

Peoria police say an off duty cop and another passerby rushed to help Butterfield. The police officer used a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze on the motorcycle.

Butterfield suffered traumatic brain injury, a spine fracture and broken leg but OSF staff call his quick recovery remarkable.

"When I first met John, he was on a feeding tube that was inserted through the nose and that was a way he was getting his nutrition. It was unsafe to eat orally and so we evaluated his swallow skills," said OSF St. Francis Medical Center Speech Pathologist Nicki Wiltz.

"Young individuals with brain injuries often make an excellent recovery," said Illinois Neurological Institute Physician Jeffery Stedwill.

Doctors say Butterfield's prognosis is good and his memory is already improving. Butterfield, who was not wearing a helmet, still does not remember the accident but is just happy to be going home.

"Just sit and watch TV and see all the kids and stuff," he said.

Butterfield and his girlfriend are grateful to the pair who rushed to help him.

"I can't imagine how bad it would have been if the man didn't have a fire extinguisher when he did. That's a God-send and to have people step up and just rush over and pick a truck up and pull him out from under it's amazing," she said.

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