The Des Moines Police officer who was hit by a pickup while directing traffic outside the Iowa State Fair is making progress in his recovery from serious head and internal injuries.
Police spokesperson Sergeant Chris Scott says Officer Phoukham Tran was recently moved from University Hospitals in Iowa City to a physical therapy facility in Chicago.
“He suffered a lot of internal damage and has to learn how to do things that all of us probably take for granted every day,” Scott said. “We’re just glad to say he is making some steps forward.” Tran was hit by the pickup on the night of August 19. A police report indicates
Tran was thrown 47 feet before he came to rest on the pavement. Investigators said the pickup truck’s driver, Keith Terry of North Carolina, ran a red light and had a blood alcohol level of .264 – more than three times the legal limit. Terry remains in the Polk County Jail.
He’s charged with OWI, serious injury by vehicle and possession of marijuana. It’s unclear how long Tran will remain in Chicago. Sergeant Scott says he’s hoping Tran can get back to Des Moines before the upcoming holidays. The 52-year-old Tran is a 29-year veteran of the Des Moines Police Department.
“I don’t know what the long term prognosis is, I’m just glad to say he’s making steps forward,” Scott told Radio Iowa. “Will he return as a police officer someday? We don’t know.” Tran was on a feeding tube and clinging to life six weeks ago. Scott has fielded several requests from the media for interviews with Tran.
“I think there will be a day when he would probably (speak with the media),” Scott said. “I’m not sure how far down the road…I would hope once he gets back to Des Moines, maybe he would make time for the media because I think the public is really interested in knowing how he’s doing and what’s happened.”
A fundraiser for Tran’s family is scheduled for this weekend. The all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner will begin at 5 p.m. Saturday (October 1) at AMVETS Post #2, located at 2818 Fifth Avenue in Des Moines. Cost is $7 for adults and $3.50 for kids younger than 12. Members of Tran’s family are expected to speak at the event.