LAKE ST. LOUIS, Mo. – One of the five St. Louis area police officers injured by a suspected drunk driver made a breakthrough Sunday.
Lake St. Louis Police Officer Nathan Livingston regained consciousness and was able to speak with his family for the first time since the incident.
“Personally, I’m a faith-based person. Prayers pay off. Keep doing it, and I know we’re going to have a good outcome,” said Chief Chris DiGiuseppi for the Lake St. Louis Police Department.
It was a dramatic turnaround for Livingston. He remained unresponsive ever since he and four others were injured in the overnight hours of March 29.
The officers were part of the St. Charles County Criminal Interdiction Task Force, responding to an incident on Interstate 70 in Maryland Heights. All of a sudden, a man driving an SUV barreled into a patrol vehicle. Five officers, three from Lake St. Louis, plus a Lake St. Louis K9 and two St. Charles County officers, were rushed to the hospital.
The driver of the SUV is now in custody, facing several charges, including driving while intoxicated.
The St. Charles County officers were not severely injured and were treated and released. The three Lake St. Louis officers all required surgery. Two were treated and released. One is back home healing, and another is undergoing orthopedic rehabilitation.
Livingston, 26, has been in the Mercy Hospital St. Louis ICU in critical condition. In recent days, doctors have seen a big change, so they changed his condition from critical to satisfactory. The improvement came as a huge, welcome surprise.
“He’s regained some consciousness and was able to speak to this family on Easter,” DiGiuseppi said. “I’d call it great. We went out to all of the community for support. Thoughts and prayers, and it’s paid off.”
It has been a trying time for law enforcement. Police departments are aware of the risks that officers face every day. But three officers from the same department were emotionally overwhelming to Lake St. Louis Police.
“It was difficult to see all three of them, not just for me but for all my police department,” DiGiuseppi said. “My command staff, even the leadership, city employees that knew him. It was like family. It was like visiting a family member in the hospital; it’s difficult.”
He credits the staff at Mercy Hospital St. Louis, support from the community, and prayers for the recent breakthrough with Livingston, who is expected to make a full recovery.
DiGiuseppi said that he hopes this incident sends a message to the public about drunk driving.
“Being intoxicated, operating a motor vehicle. It drives home how dangerous it is,” he said. “How dangerous it is to the public—you know, we had three officers who were hurt.”