N.J. Gov. Corzine’s Crash Costs: $400,000 Out of Own Pocket

New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine is pleased by his recovery three months after nearly being killed in a high-speed crash and will soon personally begin paying thousands upon thousands of dollars for his medical treatment, his office said this week.

Corzine suffered 15 broken bones, lost half the blood in his body and spent 18 days in the hospital, much of it in intensive care and breathing with a ventilator, after an April 12 crash near Atlantic City along the Garden State Parkway. He was not wearing his seat belt.

The crash occurred as his state trooper-driven sport utility vehicle hit a guardrail after going 91 mph in a 65 mph zone.

Corzine still faces months of therapy, but recently began walking on his own. He used crutches after being released from the hospital, then moved to a cane, but has recently begun walking without it.

“I feel like we’ve made real advances,” Corzine said.

He has a noticeable limp and lost weight.

“I kind of like being 30 pounds lighter,” the 60-year-old Democratic governor quipped.

Corzine, a multimillionaire, had said he would pay for his own medical expenses.

Corzine is covered by state health insurance, so paying his own costs will spare taxpayers a hefty bill that’s expected to reach six figures.

Corzine spokeswoman Lilo Stainton on Wednesday said a state insurer has paid 31 bills totaling about $17,701, with an additional 24 bills for $63,000 expected to be paid by Friday. She said Corzine will reimburse the insurer so the state won’t have to pay.

Other bills are expected that will likely push the cost to nearly $400,000, Stainton said.

Corzine has been doing therapy at the governor’s mansion in Princeton and spent much time working there after being released from the hospital on April 30. Lately he’s begun holding more public appearances and spending more time at the Statehouse in Trenton.

“The schedule isn’t back to what it was before, but it’s growing,” Corzine said.

A state police report recently concluded unauthorized use of emergency lights by Corzine’s driver, Robert Rasinski, triggered events that led to the accident

The crash occurred as two pickup trucks swerved, trying to avoid Rasinski’s SUV. A red pickup swerved to the shoulder, then back onto the highway. That forced a white pickup to clip the governor’s vehicle, sending it spinning and careening into a guardrail, the report said.

The head of the state police, Col. Rick Fuentes, has recommended Rasinski be suspended without pay for up to five days. Rasinski suffered minor injuries in the crash and has resumed driving the governor.