MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Emotions ran high Tuesday on Long Island during a police promotion ceremony that honored a cop who was given slim chances of survival.
He was injured more than a decade ago in a life-altering car crash with a drunk driver, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.
It was a virtual honor for a very real local hero.
“Nobody has given more to this department than Kenny Baribault,” Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said. “Today, he is a first-grade detective, a first-grade person, his family a first-grade people in our society.”
FLASHBACK EXCLUSIVE: Nassau Cop Struck By Drunk Driver Making Remarkable Recovery
Baribault is part of a family that has worked to defy the odds, after doctors gave him a 10% chance of living and almost no shot of walking or talking again.
The devastating injury happened in 2008. Baribault, then a young officer patrolling the Long Island Expressway, pulled over one unlicensed drunk driver, and was hit by another drunk driver.
“Initially, they told us to make arrangements, funeral-wise,” said Danielle Rella, Baribault’s sister.
Months in a coma and years in rehabilitation followed. Baribault learned how to talk again. CBS2 visited with him eight years ago. He said he was feeling good and learning how to walk again.
And now, he’s taking more steps in the right direction.
“His speech is much better. His walking is better. He’s almost unassisted. We’re not quite there, but he can walk with a cane,” mother Patricia Baribault said.
Then came the surprise honor from his police family.
“Just thrilled that they would think of him and remember how hard he works every day to recover form this injury and still make him part of their police family,” Patricia Baribault said.
Ken Baribault’s experience is now protecting others. After the crash, the state installed pull-off areas on the LIE for police to make safer stops.
His honor at police headquarters was a touching symbol that the now Det. Baribault’s sacrifice has never been forgotten.
CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff contributed to this report
More From CBS New York: