BISMARCK - Karl Keene, a radio show co-host and human rights and social issues activist from Moorhead, was severely injured in a multicar accident in North Dakota Sunday evening, Dec. 4, according to reports from the Highway Patrol and his wife.
Keene, 61, was one of three people injured in a collision about 6 p.m. on Highway 6, south of St. Anthony, approximately 20 miles south of Mandan, the patrol reported.
His wife, Kathleen Keene, said the Navy veteran was returning home from the Standing Rock Reservation after taking part in protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
"I think it's important to say that he was going out there as a hero. It's a most noble thing to be unarmed. ... to go and protect people and to serve," Kathleen Keene said Monday afternoon, Dec. 5, as she waited for more news of his treatment at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.
"Even though he's heavily sedated ... I get to tell him I love him," she said.
Keene suffered many significant injuries, perhaps the most serious being three fractures of his pelvis, his wife said. But he also has numerous other injuries including a broken back (fractures in the lumbar vertabrae), punctured lung, broken ribs and a shattered ankle now held together with pins. He also has many cuts, and with blood in his urine, doctors are scanning him for other potential problems, his wife said.
Kathleen Keene, organizer of the Fargo Moorhead VegFest, said her husband had four teams of physicians working on him.
"The doctors seem to be cautious, but hopeful," she said. "It will be a long road."
Depending on how severe his pelvic fractures are, it could take three weeks to three months of rehabilitation, probably in a Fargo-Moorhead care facility.
"He won't be home for a long time," Kathleen Keene said.
Keene, who was a Minnesota delegate for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention last summer, is retired and does odd jobs and freelance work, his wife said.
His LinkedIn profile lists him as co-host of The Matt and Friends Radio Show on KRFF 95.9 Radio Free Fargo.
Keene has Medicare coverage, she said.
"But I don't know how much that will cover," she said. "I have no clue, I really don't. We haven't talked about that."
A gofundme page set up in his name raised more than $1,600 toward a $50,000 goal by 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5.
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According to the North Dakota Highway Patrol report released Monday:
On Sunday, a Ford Expedition driven by Morgan Andrews, 35, of Kerby, Ore., was southbound on Highway 6, and a Pontiac Grand Am driven by Sean Burns, 37, Dilworth, was northbound on Highway 6.
Andrews apparently tried to pass another southbound vehicle and was traveling south in the northbound lane when his SUV hit the car driven by Burns, the report said.
After the impact, the Expedition came to rest in the east ditch. Burns' car hit a southbound GMC Terrain driven by Crystal Thunderhawk, 41, of Cannonball.
One passenger in each of the three vehicles was reported injured.
Keene, who was in the Pontiac, and Ronika Thunderhawk, 13, of Cannonball, who was in the GMC, were both taken by ambulance to a hospital in Bismarck for treatment, the report said. Maurice Martin, 59, of Berkeley, Calif., who was riding in the Expedition, was also reported injured.
Keene was later taken by air ambulance to the Hennepin County Medical Center.
The nature of the injuries of the other two people hurt in the crash was not described in the report.
The accident closed Highway 6 for about 30 minutes, the report said.
The accident remains under investigation.