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Man in car burned by crashing helicopter ‘improving, conscious, breathing on his own’

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Public Facebook photo of Richard “Dickie” Newman

SEATTLE — The driver caught in a helicopter crash is in serious but stable condition in the intensive care unit of Harborview Medical Center, suffering burns over 20 percent of his body.

Richard Newman, 38, is improving, conscious and breathing on his own today, officials at the hospital said. No surgeries are planned for Wednesday, but he will likely have multiple reconstructive procedures to repair bad burns.

Newman was severely injured when his car was hit by a KOMO-TV news helicopter that crashed Tuesday morning. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition after the crash, but later upgraded to serious.

A part-time disease intervention specialist at Public Health of Seattle and King County, Newman was seen rolling in the grass to put out the fire on his body caused by the crash.

Newman’s family and partner declined to be interviewed by the media Wednesday. An avid softball player, the Emerald City Softball Association wished Newman a speed recovery.

“Our thoughts are with Richard Newman of the Seattle Phoenix, who is at Harborview Medical Center recovering from injuries sustained in today’s helicopter crash outside Seattle Center,” ESCA Open Division posted on their Facebook wall.

King County Executive Dow Constantine issued a statement about the county employee that said, in part: “My best wishes for a full recovery go to Richard Newman. As a part-time employee at Public Health, Richard is a true public servant, helping us combat disease by doing HIV testing in our community.”

Facebook users took to the Q13 FOX News page Wednesday to extended messages of health to Newman:

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Harborview staff said those interested in contacting Newman could send cards and gifts to Harborview Medical Center at 325 Ninth Avenue, Seattle, Wa 98104. Email notes could also be sent here.

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What remains of the red car Newman escaped from with severe burns.

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