A Wauconda and Holiday Hills police officer who was in critical condition following an off-duty crash has been taken out of a coma and is alert and communicating, officials said.
The crash happened around 2:30 a.m. April 25 on Interstate 39 in Ogle County south of Rockford.
The Illinois State Police said the crash involved three vehicles.
A Honda, driven by Clearthis Gardner, 79, of Maywood, was traveling northbound when it crossed into the southbound lanes.
The Honda struck a Toyota RAV4, driven by Timothy Geroulis, 29, of Plainfield, state police said.
The Toyota went airborne and struck a Chevrolet Malibu, which was also traveling southbound.
Five occupants of the vehicles were injured and Gardner was pronounced dead, state police said.
Gardner had been reported as a missing endangered person prior to the crash.
Geroulis is a police officer who works for the Holiday Hills Police Department and for the Wauconda Police Department’s Marine Unit.
He was flown to the hospital in critical condition and was put in a medically-induced coma.
Geroulis suffered traumatic injuries to three of his extremities, massive internal injuries, a punctured lung and multiple other injuries.
He underwent multiple life-sustaining and reconstructive surgeries.
Wauconda Police Department Sgt. Heather Cognac told Lake and McHenry County Scanner on Tuesday that Geroulis has been extubated and brought out of his coma.
“He is communicating and he is alert and aware of his surroundings,” Cognac said.
Geroulis’ wife, Michelle Geroulis, 30, of Plainfield, was also seriously injured with a spinal cord injury and multiple broken bones. Michelle Geroulis is a registered nurse who works with families and children.
A family friend told Lake and McHenry County Scanner the couple has “years of recovery ahead” with no ability to work, pay their mortgage, car loans and other expenses. “They are going to need every bit of help we can send their way.”
A MealTrain fundraiser for the couple was set up by Danielle Weston, who is Michelle Geroulis’ sister.
The account has raised over $17,000 as of Wednesday, far surpassing the initial $500 goal.
“Michelle and Tim have a long road of rehabilitation and recovery, mentally, physically and financially. As we don’t know the extent of Tim’s recovery just yet we do know they are going to need our support in getting them through this tragic accident,” Weston said.
Wauconda Police Sgt. Mike Aiardo has been assigned as a liaison to the Geroulis family.
He is arranging a fundraiser that will distribute 100% of the funds to the couple. Checks can be mailed or dropped off at the Wauconda Police Department at 311 South Main Street in Wauconda.