Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry remained in the hospital Tuesday after being knocked off his bicycle and critically injured Saturday.
Huckelberry's wife, Maureen, on Tuesday gave the first official account of his injuries, saying in a release through Pima County that "Chuck has suffered a serious head injury and some broken ribs. He is stable and making slow progress."
“We want to thank everyone who has been sharing their well-wishes about Chuck and their hopes for his speedy recovery," she said. "The outpouring of concern, love and respect for him is overwhelming and has really helped our family in this difficult time."
Huckelberry, who turns 72 next month, was admitted to a hospital in critical but stable condition Saturday after a vehicle crashed into him while he was riding in downtown Tucson. Sources with knowledge of the incident told TucsonSentinel.com that two vehicles collided in an intersection along Broadway and one “ricocheted” into Huckelberry and his bike.
An internal email to Pima County employees sent Sunday included promising hints at “a full recovery.”
In the memo, Chief Deputy County Administrator Jan Lesher asked employees to share only the “accurate information we provide you through these eblast updates” with anybody outside the county who inquires “(f)or his and his family’s sake.”
“At this time, the best that I can tell you is that his injuries are serious but we’re hopeful for a full recovery,” she wrote. “I will share information with you all as circumstances warrant.”
The email to staffers also offered a link where they can send Huckelberry “your best wishes for his speedy recovery or other well wishes… We are compiling them for Chuck and will provide them to him upon his return to work.”
County Supervisor Sharon Bronson told the Tucson Sentinel that she suggests, instead of people sending flowers with well-wishes to the hospital, that Huckelberry would appreciate it if they “send native seeds of flowers that can be planted along the Loop.”
County Supervisor Steve Christy released a statement Monday saying he was "shocked and deeply concerned" over the accident.
“I know he is in good hands, yet I can’t help but feel great anxiety knowing of his hospitalization," Christy said. "I am praying for his speedy and complete recovery and for comfort to surround his family.”
Huckelberry’s family put out a short statement Monday that briefly described the accident but gave no information on injuries. It said Huckelberry was "riding his bike with friends Saturday morning. He’s an experienced and avid rider and he was doing everything right: Helmet, gloves, colorful 'Loop' jersey, no earphones (ever), riding prudently and totally focused on having a fun and safe ride. But as too often happens to cyclists, bad luck prevailed."
News organizations made several requests for any specific information on Huckelberry's injuries before Tuesday's release, and rumors of the extent of the injuries had circulated since Saturday.
It's unknown how long Huckelberry's injuries may keep him in the hospital, or when he will be able to return to his desk.
Under Pima’s “continuity of operations” plan, Lesher is the acting top staffer for the county, a spokesman said.
That follows a pattern used when Huckelberry has gone out of town on vacation, said county spokesman Mark Evans, who declined to “speculate” Monday on when Huckelberry might be able to return to work.
Huckelberry, a Tucson native who began working for the county in 1974, is the top administrator for Pima County, hired to carry out the policies determined by the elected Board of Supervisors. Pima County has about 7,300 employees and an annual budget of $2.1 billion.