Long Islanders have rallied together to raise close to $130,000 in support of a Suffolk cop who suffered a life-threatening brain injury and serious bodily trauma when he was struck Nov. 2 by an alleged drunk driver in Yaphank.
Police Officer Timothy Thrane, 35, was on duty, responding to a car wreck on William Floyd Parkway and was setting up traffic control flares about midnight when he was struck in a chain-reaction crash allegedly triggered by William Petersohn, 38, of Mastic, police said. At the scene, Petersohn’s breath reportedly smelled of alcohol and he exhibited other indications of someone who had been drinking, court papers indicate.
The officer was flown via helicopter to Stony Brook University Hospital and taken into emergency surgery after sustaining a skull fracture, in addition to other serious injuries throughout his body. The father of three is in stable condition, and has been on a ventilator and in a medically induced coma.
The fundraiser was started by the non-profit organization Law Enforcement Officers Weekend and is endorsed by the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association. It is raising money to support Thrane in his recovery and his wife Janelle and their three young children, aged 11, 5 and 3.
Petersohn is charged with driving while intoxicated. Authorities said Petersohn in his 1999 Chevrolet pickup truck hit a GMC Yukon that had pulled over at the original accident scene. The Yukon then spun into Thrane, while Petersohn’s truck continued on to strike Thrane’s parked patrol car.
Donors last week quickly surpassed the original fundraising goal of $25,000 within 24 hours of its creation. The total as of Monday at night was $127,376.
All proceeds go directly to the Thrane family. To donate, click the link to the Fund the First fundraiser here.
“His family’s world has been turned upside down from this horrific incident,” the online fundraiser reads. “Tim has always given his all to help protect others, it’s now our turn to help Tim.
“This fundraiser will be used to help Tim and his family over the next few weeks and months while he recovers from his injuries,” it continues. “All proceeds will go directly to Tim.”
Donor Christopher Grzymala noted how important it is for the community to wrap their arms around Thrane and his family at this time of need and uncertainty.
“As a community we need to show our support for those men and women that put on the uniform to keep us safe,” he wrote. “God bless officer Thrane and a quick and full recovery.”
Top: The Thrane family, (left to right) Janelle, Timothy, Jonathan, Tessa and Tim. Photo courtesy of the Fund the First fundraiser.