Montana trooper regains consciousness after spending 3 weeks in coma at Utah hospital

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montana trooper wade palmer

UPDATE: (4/3/19) – Trooper Wade Palmer, the Montana Highway Patrol trooper who has spent three weeks fighting for his life at the University of Utah Hospital has regained consciousness. 

According to a post on the Montana Highway Patrol Facebook, Trooper Palmer is now in stable condition.

“His medical status has improved from critical to stable condition and he has been moved from the University of Utah Hospital’s Neurological Critical Care Unit to the Neuro Acute Care Unit,” said the post. “All of his interactions have been non-verbal, but he has shown recognition of certain people and commands. He is scheduled for reconstructive surgery for jaw injuries on Thursday.”

Colonel Tom Butler, chief of the Montana Highway Patrol said they are immensely grateful for the trooper’s progress.

“We remain hopeful as we see Wade continue to heal and make positive strides, however, we are fully aware that he has a long journey ahead of him,” said Butler. “We will be with him and his family every step of the way and we thank the public for their continued support and prayers.”

The post further explained Trooper Palmer was shot in the neck, face, and head, after locating the suspect involved in an earlier shooting that injured two and killed one in Missoula. He was transported to Saint Patrick Hospital in critical condition and eventually flown to Salt Lake City. 

Montana Highway Patrol has created a webpage with information about the Palmer shooting and to provide updates on his condition. 


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – As a Montana Highway Patrol trooper fights for his life in a Salt Lake City hospital after he was shot early Friday morning, fellow members of law enforcement have been waiting outside his room nonstop. 

Saturday, Montana Highway Patrol posted a big thank you for all the support they’ve received.

They acknowledged the support from Utah law enforcement as well, “The law enforcement community there has been taking good care of Wade, his family, and Cpt. Kitchin & Sgt. Finley who are with him in Salt Lake. There has been someone outside his room around the clock including his surgery room.”

Trooper Wade Palmer, 35, was investigating an earlier shooting when he was shot and critically injured. When he was shot, he had found a vehicle matching the description of one involved in a shooting earlier in the night.

Another trooper found Palmer wounded and still buckled into his patrol car near a bar in the small town of Evaro, a statement from Montana Highway Patrol officials said. 

A few of Trooper Palmer’s colleagues created a GoFundMe page for his family. Palmer has been a trooper since 2012. He has a wife and two children, and he won the law enforcement agency’s highest honor, the Medal of Valor, in 2015.

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