The parents of Robert G. Laurenceau, the Miami police veteran who was run down by a careening car Saturday, never wanted him to be a cop. In fact, they tried to talk him out of it because the family had survived the brutal ways of police thugs under murderous Haitian dictator Papa Doc Duvalier.
But Laurenceau, 35, told them it was his destiny to become an honest cop, In Miami. That was 16 years ago. Today, the Miami police sergeant struggles in a bed at Jackson Memorial Hospital with severe head and spinal injuries.
"Robert is doing well,” said his strong but soft-spoken mother Evelyn Laurenceau. “He came out of surgery very jovial with his regular sense of humor. And we all feel very optimistic that he will have full recovery."
Also run down was 45-year-old Sergeant Orlando R. Villaverde, a 20-year veteran. He was taken to Ryder Trauma Center with Laurenceau but was released Sunday and is at home recovering.
Miami police say several officers were on the scene of a carjacking with marked and unmarked police cars but all had their blue lights flashing. Suddenly, a car driven by 61-year-old Mary C. Lindsay failed to stop and plowed into the two officers, sending them flying into the air, and then continuing to careen into another police car.
Security video from a camera mounted on a nearby building shows police rushing to the scene to help their colleagues. Witnesses say there was a lot of blood on the street.
Evelyn Laurenceau said her son recalls the whole incident.
"He remembers everything,” she said. “He just knew that he was helping catch a bad guy and they had formed a perimeter. And all of a sudden, this car just - you know - hit them."
Lindsay was at her Miami home Sunday afternoon but would not come to the door. She's been charged with two counts of DUI causing serious bodily injury, DUI property damage, and careless driving. She is out on bond.
Laurenceau's father, Guy, is relieved his son is alive. "Yes, he's talking. He's recognizing everyone. So he's doing very well. He can move his legs, which is the most important thing."
The two parents are staying strong for the son they love.
Guy Laurenceau said he's holding up, despite seeing his son in the hospital.
"Oh, I'm doing fine,” he said calmly. “I'm happy that he's doing well. That's the most important thing. We have to support him." A Miami police spokesperson said Sunday it's expected Laurenceau will remain at Jackson for several weeks.
Guy Laurenceau said even though they didn’t want him to become a cop, they’re proud of his supreme dedication to the job. In fact, Robert Laurenceau had finished his shift 25 minutes before he was injured. He’d stuck around to help out his buddies.
"Oh yea, he loves his job," Guy Laurenceau said. "He will do it for free."