Michael Guitreau is still in the ICU at Memorial Hospital at Gulfport one day after his motorcycle collided with a vehicle on his way to work.
The 28-year-old firefighter and father of four was traveling south on Mississippi 603 near Kiln-Waveland Cutoff Road on Wednesday when he struck another vehicle.
Guitreau spent much of Wednesday in surgery as doctors removed his ruptured spleen and worked on both of his legs, with more work still to be done.
Bay St. Louis Fire Chief Monty Strong said Thursday afternoon Guitreau remains on a ventilator, although they're hopeful he'll be taken off the system after another surgery on his left leg Friday.
He said Guitreau will likely have to fly to Jackson or Mobile to complete surgery on his right leg "because it's just so dang messed up they can't fix it in Gulfport."
Strong said Guitreau also fractured his L4 vertebrae in his back and is still so swollen in his face and arms he can't speak.
Strong and others visited Guitreau at the hospital Thursday. While he can't talk, he can write. Guitreau gave him a fist bump when he walked in the room and the firefighter's fiance gave him a piece of paper and pen.
"He wrote, 'I'm sorry, Chief.'" Strong said, followed by a pause. "That's just the type of kid he is. He thinks being out of work is going to be a burden on us.
"We reassured him he'll be OK and we'll take it from here."
Strong said doctors remain hopeful Guitreau will return to at least "95 percent." The road to get there, however, will be long.
"His face, hands, arm, everything's swollen," Strong said. "It's really bad. It hits home. You hear about the accident but until you lay eyes on him you don't realize the extent."
Guitreau was hired on three years ago, Strong said.
"He loves the fire service," he said. "When I had a chance to hire him, he was just thrilled to death."
How to help
Numerous fundraisers are already in the works to aid Guitreau's family, but Strong said a GoFundMe account has not been finalized just yet.
Anyone who wishes to reach out to the fire department or the Guitreau family can send a message to the department's Facebook page.