WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — A West Des Moines Officer is now recovering at the Methodist ICU in Des Moines after he was struck by another car while on the side of the interstate.
“Please remember not to drive while distracted, and to always slow down and move over for emergency vehicles,” Dena Kaufman said.
Even though the cause of the accident is still under investigation, Dena Kaufman knows first-hand the dangers emergency vehicles face when on the side of the road.
Her husband, West Des Moines Police Officer Jon Kaufman, was in his patrol car near an empty vehicle on I-35, waiting for a tow truck.
“Within maybe five minutes, he was rear-ended, from a vehicle. And that collision sent him also into a secondary collision with the first car that he was impounding so basically, he was in two accidents in one incident. As a part of that accident he sustained a lot of injuries,” the Chief of Police at the West Des Moines Police Department Chris Scott said.
“During the collision, Jon suffered a forceful blow to the back of his head, resulting in a basilar skull fracture. There was a small amount of bleeding under the portion of the fracture in the back of his head, as well as a brain contusion to his frontal lobe due to the whiplash-like motion as his vehicle lunged forwarda complication of his injury has also included a blood clot in one of the sinuses draining his brain, for which his medical team has started him on a blood thinner. He remains in critical, though stable condition,” Dena Kaufman said.
“During this simple daily task. It could have been a life ender, for him to be honest with you. It is on the interstate and cars travel at higher rates of speed on the interstate. And when there are these types of accidents, the risk is going to be much higher,” Chief Scott said.
Dena said Jon has several weeks of recovery but hopes he will be home in time for the delivery of their first child.
“We are expecting our first child, a baby boy, in the second week of December. Jon loves children and has been eager to start a family since we got married three years ago. In the recent months, we have been anxiously preparing our home in anticipation of his arrival,” Dena said.
“It’s scary for the incident that he went through, but we appreciate our community, our community has been an excellent supporter of our department,” Chief Scott said.
That support is evident, a Venmo account was set up to collect donations for the Kaufman family.
“Somebody put that together, on behalf of her family to benefit them for some of those odds and ends miscellaneous costs that may result that would be outside the circle of what the city would pay for,” Chief Scott said.
Dena plans to use the donated funds for non-medical expenses related to his injury.
“Whether it be providing meals once he is able to be healing at home, the traveling costs related to his stay in Iowa City, future help with tasks that he will be unable to complete (mowing, snow removal), anticipation of our upcoming need for daycare services, items to care for baby, or lost wages from the overtime shifts he had been planning to take to give us a little cushion once our little one arrives,” Dena said.
“I appreciate our community’s support for our department and for Officer Kaufman and his family. We have an incredible community here in West Des Moines and in the metro and we appreciate them all,” Chief Scott said.
You can donate to the Venmo account @Caring-For-Kaufman. You may have to enter the last four (4) digits of the phone number that it is registered under, which 9268.