Michael Brodkorb crash: Former Senate staffer critically injured - FOX 35 News Orlando

Michael Brodkorb's condition stabilizes after crash into wall on 35E

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Crash site of former Minnesota Republican Senate aide Michael Brodkorb. Photo by Greg Kellogg / FOX 9 News. Crash site of former Minnesota Republican Senate aide Michael Brodkorb. Photo by Greg Kellogg / FOX 9 News.
  • Michael Brodkorb's condition stabilizes after crash into wall on 35EMore>>

  • Brodkorb breaks silence on affair, firing after gag order lifted

    Brodkorb breaks silence on affair, firing after gag order lifted

    Sunday, October 14 2012 11:30 PM EDT2012-10-15 03:30:23 GMT
    It's been nearly a year since Michael Brodkorb was fired following his affair with then-Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, but he's breaking his silence now with FOX 9 News.
    It's been nearly a year since Michael Brodkorb was fired from his position as a powerful senate staffer following his affair with then-Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, and he gave his first interview about the experience to FOX 9 News.
MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn. (KMSP) -

Michael Brodkorb, the man at the center of a scandal involving the former Minnesota Senate majority leader, was in critical condition Thursday morning after a car crash on Interstate 35E in Mendota Heights.

Sources say Brodkorb's condition had stabilized by Thursday night, and his wife Sarah released the following statement Friday:

"Michael's condition has improved. We thank everyone for their concern, warm thoughts and prayers. As we focus on Michael's health, we ask that the media and the public continue to respect our wishes for privacy."

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Brodkorb was involved in a one-car crash around 9:15 p.m. Wednesday night, striking a cement wall on 35E at Highway 13 and ricocheting across the freeway to hit the median wall.

The initial report indicates alcohol may have played a factor in the crash. Troopers said he was found alone and unconscious, and they reported smelling alcohol.

Brodkorb was taken to Regions Hospital in critical condition with head trauma. He was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. 

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is testing to determine if alcohol was in his system at the time, but it could take two to four weeks before the lab work is processed. 

Friends told FOX 9 News Brodkorb wasn't a heavy drinker. In fact, his friend and fellow political operative Chris Tiedeman was nearly killed by a drunk driver last March. Tiedeman's wife died of her injuries.

Lt. Eric Roeske told FOX 9 News investigators do not know where Brodkorb was coming from or where he was going. So far, they have not been able to talk to him, and no one is believed to have witnessed the crash other than the driver who called 911.

The crash is the latest chapter in Brodkorb's Shakespearean-like narrative of triumph and tragedy.

"I'm very sad for him and his family," said Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen. "This has been a very difficult time for him anyway. I think we're all hoping him a very speedy recovery and our best wishes for his future."

Initially, he had been hired by the Republican Senate Caucus as a strategist and messenger, and his sharp skills led the GOP to regain control of the Senate in 2010.

Brodkorb filed a wrongful termination lawsuit last year after he was fired over an affair with former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch. Brodkorb alleges he was fired due to gender discrimination when their extramarital affair was revealed, claiming female employees who were also involved in affairs were treated differently and describing the decision as a "palace coup."

"We're friends and people first," said Sen. David Senjem, R-Rochester. "We have differences along the way about what we feel about certain initiatives, but we're friends and people first -- and again, I wish Michael well and hopefully a speedy recovery."

So far, the tab to try and settle the case has reached nearly $200,000 -- more than double Brodkorb's annual salary.

There was no formal mention of Brodkorb on the Senate floor on Thursday, but that doesn't mean it wasn't an elephant in the room.

"I've chosen to compartmentalize. I'm not going to mix feelings one way or the other. What Michael Brodkorb has said or done in the past, I'm going to keep that separate from his unfortunate accident last night," said Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove.

Earlier in the evening on the night of the crash, Brodkorb re-posted a Tweet about a party for the Minnesota Governmental Relations Council at the Amsterdam Bar and Grill in St. Paul, but FOX 9 confirmed Brodkorb was never in attendance.

Thursday morning, Koch posted to Twitter, "Seems he will be fine. Still out."

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