ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. - This weekend was supposed to be Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson's. It has been for the past four years.
Patterson sponsors the Brooksie Way half marathon race in memory of his late son. This year, the race will still go on this weekend but Patterson won't be there.
"I'm mending fine. My ribs are not a problem. My wrists are fine. Everything else with some degree of healing has healed, except for my legs," Patterson told WWJR radio about recovering from an August car crash in Auburn Hills. "My legs are going to be at least another couple of weeks."
The Oakland County leader is reassuring everyone from rehabilitation that he nearly is on his feet after the serious crash. His Democratic opponent was questioning this week if Patterson is still up to the job.
"That's wishful thinking by my opponents that I am not up to it," Patterson said. "I hate to disappoint him but rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated."
When Patterson does return he will be in a wheelchair. His inability to get around is the reason he won't he at Oakland University this weekend. He would need an ambulance. He is not OK with that.
About 6,000 runners are expected to show up for the race. Joining Patterson in his stead are his friends colleagues. Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano each received their race numbers at a news conference on Friday.
"You know, you gotta go through the physical therapy. It's a long process and so you need pick-me-ups. So, once in a while there's nothing wrong with doing this for Brooks," said Ficano.
Patterson knows everyone wants to know why he wasn't wearing a seat belt during the time of the crash.
"It was pure carelessness on my part," he said. "I'm now the poster boy for seat belts, the usage of seat belts. I've learned a valuable lesson."
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