'Wonderful news' on Thurston County sheriff's recovery from motorcycle crash

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza, critically injured last week in a motorcycle crash in Montana, woke up Monday and was able to breathe on his own and speak, the sheriff's office said.

"TCSO and Sheriff Snaza’s family are happy to be able to update the public with some wonderful news. Today, the Sheriff woke up and they pulled his ventilator out of his mouth. He is able to breathe and speak, but has a severe laceration to his tongue. He seemed to be in good spirits and is aware of his surroundings. He is now able to communicate with his family," the sheriff's office said in a news release.

Snaza remains in a critical care unit at a Montana hospital, however.

Snaza has a punctured lung, a lacerated kidney, a broken left arm and a damaged right hand. He underwent a successful surgery last Wednesday to fuse a bone in his neck.

Snaza suffered life-threatening injuries in the crash in Sanders County, Montana, last Tuesday while he was off duty.