CAMDEN - Gov. Corzine was released from Cooper University Hospital today, more than two weeks after he was critically injured in an accident on the Garden State Parkway.
"I certainly hope the state will forgive me. I will work very hard to set the right kind of example," Corzine said, an apparent reference to his failure to wear a seat belt on the day of the high-speed crash.
Corzine exited Cooper in a wheelchair pushed by his daughter, Jennifer Corzine Pisani, and his son, Jeff. The governor's girlfriend, Sharon Elghanayan, was by his side.
Emerging from an emergency room door, Corzine was met by a large gathering of reporters, hospital staff and others. His first words were: "What a beautiful day."
The governor choked up during his brief remarks, and he took no questions. He struggled to be heard above the wind and the hospital's helicopters.
"I'm a blessed human being," he said. "I could not be more grateful for all the support I've had. ... I just want to be sure I say thank you."
Jeff Corzine massaged his father's shoulders during his remarks, offering encouragement.
"Nothing counts more in life than the people who care about you all the time, in moments of joy and moments of pain," the governor said.
Corzine was critically injured April 12 when the SUV he was riding in crashed on its way to the governor's mansion from Atlantic City. Corzine was hurrying there to attend a meeting with radio host Don Imus and the Rutgers University women's basketball team, about which Imus made offensive remarks that led to his firing.
Corzine broke his left leg, 11 ribs, his collarbone and sternum, among other injuries, in the crash. He had three surgeries, had a metal rod inserted into his broken leg and, for more than a week, breathed with help from a ventilator.
Fellow Democrat Richard J. Codey, the State Senate president, has been the acting governor since Corzine's crash.
After his remarks, Corzine headed off to Drumthwacket, the historic governor's mansion near Princeton University, where he plans to stay during his rehabilitation.
Doctors and physical therapists predict that Corzine could be walking with crutches for months and could take as long as a year to fully recover from his injuries.