BROOKPORT, IL (KFVS) -
The people of Brookport are starting to ask how many more tragedies are they going to have to deal with this year.
First there was the deadly EF3 tornado that tore through their town on November 17, then on Friday afternoon their mayor was seriously injured in a head on collision.
The crash happened shortly after 2 p.m. on Friday along Purcell Road, at the time Mayor John Klaffer was delivering mail to residents in the area.
Mayor Klaffer had to be air lifted to Deaconnes Hospital in Evansville with multiple broken bones.
"His left ankle is broken, so is his left leg. His left hip is so badly damaged they are going to put in an artificial hip," Brookport Councilman Larry Call said. "His right lower leg is broken, his right elbow is crushed. His left wrist and forearm are broken. He has broken vertebrae in his back. And his C-4, and C-5 cervical vertebrae are broken. That's the bad news.
"The good news is they don't detect and internal bleeding. And there is no bleeding on the brain or damage."
On Saturday evening the council members called a special meeting to name a mayor pro tem in Mayor Klaffer's absence.
After a short discussion about the situation, the council voted unanimously on Councilman Tom Souders to take over as the town's mayor.
"I was just heartbroken when I heard about the accident. He's our mayor. But's he's also my friend and a close friend," Souders said. "In fact I talked him into running for mayor. I said if you'll run for mayor again John, I'll run for the city council and we'll get some things done."
"And we were moving along good. We were getting the town cleaned up. We were getting some ordinances passed and things to help the community. And I'm just going to carry on with what John started, as best as I can."
Souders also called on his fellow council members to continue helping him rebuild their community. And to expect a lot of phone calls in the days and weeks ahead until Johnny can come home, and take over the rebuilding process.
"I just wanted to stay in charge of the clean up, which is what I've been doing and stay focused on that. But with my wife's urging and Johnny's Family asking me to take over things. They said I can take on two jobs and I'm going to try," Souders said.
The driver of the other vehicle that hit Mayor Klaffer has not been released at this time. And neither have the names of the two other people who were in the SUV at the time of the crash.
No word yet if there will be any charges filed, as the crash remains under investigation.
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