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Former FBI Director Louis Freeh Returns To Surgery Following Crash

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh speaks during a news conference in 2012.
Matt Rourke
Former FBI Director Louis Freeh speaks during a news conference in 2012.

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh was returned to surgery at a New Hampshire hospital on Tuesday, after suffering serious injuries in what police say was a one-car crash Monday, according to the Burlington Free Press. The newspaper also reports that Freeh is under armed guard.

The crash took place in Barnard, Vt., where Freeh owns a house. He was airlifted from the scene to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire. According to the hospital, Freeh's family has not authorized release of any information about his condition, but several law enforcement officials were quoted after the crash as saying that Freeh suffered a broken leg, cuts and other unspecified injuries.

Police said Freeh drove his SUV off the road shortly after noon Monday, struck a mailbox and a row of shrubs before coming to a stop at the side of a tree. Officials said a preliminary investigation showed neither alcohol nor drugs were a factor in the crash.

Police also said Freeh was wearing his seat belt and there were no skid or brake marks in the road.

Police would not say whether Freeh was conscious after driving off the road, but the roof of his car had to be cut off to get him out.

The Burlington Free Press said police have been unable to interview Freeh, but hope to speak to him by the end of the week to determine whether the crash was caused by Freeh falling asleep at the wheel, whether he was distracted, or whether there was some medical or mechanical issue.

Formerly a federal district court judge, Freeh was named FBI director by President Clinton in 1993 and served until 2001. Since 2001, he has served as chairman of Freeh Group International Solutions and has handled a number of high-profile investigations.

In 2011, he was hired by Penn State University to explore how sex abuse complaints had been handled by university officials. After an eight-month, $6.5 million investigation, Freeh issued a scathing report contending that longtime football coach Joe Paterno and top university officials had, for more than a decade, concealed sex abuse charges against assistant coach Jerry Sandusky to avoid negative publicity.

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Nina Totenberg is NPR's award-winning legal affairs correspondent. Her reports air regularly on NPR's critically acclaimed newsmagazines All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition.