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Family plans benefit for Janesville man

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ANN MARIE AMES
January 12, 2009
— Jerrie McCarty will never forget looking at the face that didn’t look anything like her cousin Josh Krueger.

Now she and her family wait as Krueger learns to remember conversations he just had with his loved ones.


Krueger, 35, was injured Nov. 2 in a 2:26 a.m. collision with what police say was a drunken driver on Highway 51 south of Janesville. He is staying at Lakeview Specialty Hospital and Rehab, Waterford, where every day he goes through three hours of speech, occupational and physical therapy.


McCarty is organizing a benefit to raise money for Krueger’s hospital bills and pay for expenses for his four children. The event will feature five local bands, karaoke and an Elvis tribute artist and will take place on Saturday, Jan. 24, at Tremors Bar & Grill, 1802 Center Ave., Janesville.


Krueger was driving and Rachel Randell was riding shotgun when police say a car driven by Hector Aldamatadeo, 17, Oregon, crossed the centerline and struck the couple’s Chevrolet Venture van as they were turning into the drive at Rockvale Mobile Home Park, 6219 S. Highway 51, Janesville.


Aldamatadeo is charged with causing injury by drunken driving, and his case is pending in Rock County Court.


Randell glanced at Krueger just before the crash.


All she saw was his airbag before losing consciousness, Randell said.


EMTs took Randell to Beloit Memorial Hospital with several injuries, including a broken right leg. Krueger was taken by helicopter to Rockford Memorial Hospital, where he was in intensive care for 22 days.


It was 6:30 a.m. by the time Krueger’s family was notified of the crash and got to Rockford. They didn’t get to see Krueger before his first surgery, but they took turns looking in on him afterward.


“I’ll never forget his face,” McCarty said. “If someone hadn’t said it was Josh, I wouldn’t have known.”


Krueger was on a respirator in a medically induced coma for 22 days. He was at Rockford Memorial for more than a month before moving to rehab in Waterford.


Randell still has pain in her right leg, although she no longer needs a wheelchair or walker to get around.


Krueger, a former broadband technician for Charter Communications, is able to talk to his family on the phone or when they visit. He has had no loss of language, but his short-term memory has been damaged, his mother, Carol Oliver, said.


While he can have conversations, he often forgets that he had them, Oliver said.


Krueger can maneuver from the bed to his wheelchair but is unable to put his full weight on his left leg, Oliver said.


It is likely that Krueger eventually will come home, and the family has worked to make the mobile home accessible, Randell said. He could be in rehabilitative care for six months, Oliver said.


“He has to come home,” Randell said. “The kids can’t live without him. He can’t live without the kids.”


Randell and Krueger have four children, ages 18 months to 6 years.


For now, the family is concentrating on Krueger’s day-to-day improvement.


“The goal is to get him to the benefit,” McCarty said.


IF YOU GO
What: Benefit for Janesville resident Josh Krueger and his family
When: 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, until 2 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 25.
Where: Tremors Bar & Grill, 1802 Center Ave., Janesville.
Cost: $10 donation will include free soda and free beer for a limited time
Details: Krueger, 35, was badly injured in November in a crash with what police say was a drunken driver. While he is going through major rehabilitation, his family seeks money to help with medical bills and expenses for his four young children. Cash donations can be mailed to Josh Krueger Benefit, Blackhawk Community Credit Union, P.O. Box 1366, Janesville, WI, 53547-1366.
Entertainment: Karaoke; Shawn Sharp, Elvis tribute artist, 2 to 4:30 p.m.; Back Bar Band, 5 to 6:30 p.m.; Down Fall, 7 to 8 p.m.; Dynamite Society, 8:30 to 10 p.m.; and The Buzz, 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.
For more information: Call Jerrie McCarty at (608) 774-2533
Getting home safely: The family is looking for donations for bus or cab rides home for attendees.

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