Two St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s deputies remained in the hospital Thursday with serious injuries after a bizarre off-duty accident Wednesday afternoon.
Deputies Justin Topey and Ryan Laylle had to be airlifted from a remote street in Lower St. Bernard after they collided with each other while riding off-road ATVs.
Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Kim Gritter said the men were reported to be in stable condition at University Medical Center in New Orleans.
The accident took place on a trail alongside Neal Lane shortly after noon.
Topey's wife posted updates on Facebook that her husband suffered facial and neck fractures, underwent scans for bleeding on the brain, and was on a ventilator to help his breathing.
Rebekah Topey also posted a hopeful message that he was able to recognize her and squeeze her hand.
“This has been the longest and most terrifying 4 hours of my life,” Topey posted on Wednesday. “I was recently able to go back and see Justin. He is sedated because he has a breathing tube in. When I talked to him, he was able to squeeze my hand three times. That's our signal to say "I love you."”
The Facebook posts drew dozens of replies from family, friends and well-wishers offering their thoughts and prayers.
Gritter said that state troopers were at the scene of the accident, but they are not involved in the investigation because the collision took place on private property.
She said toxicology tests were conducted and will be part of an accident report.