Anderson County Deputy Critical, Hit En Route To Help Officer
By KENNETH DEAN
The men and women of the Anderson County Sheriff's Office are praying for the recovery of a young deputy critically injured Saturday in a three-vehicle crash while en route to help another deputy in trouble.
Sheriff Greg Taylor said 24-year-old Hunter Lawrence remained in critical condition Monday in East Texas Medical Center in Tyler after the Saturday night crash on U.S. Highway 287 inside the Palestine city limits.
Taylor said Lawrence was north of Palestine when another deputy requested immediate help when a traffic stop went bad.
"The other deputy had pulled over a vehicle in Elkhart on suspicion the driver might be under the influence. While he was attempting to make the arrests, one of the passengers, who was high on PCP, became combative and that is when he called for help," he said.
Taylor said Lawrence responded and was running code (lights and sirens on) when his squad car was hit from both sides by an SUV and a pickup.
Lawrence had to be extricated from the vehicle and was flown to Tyler. Five passengers in the other vehicles also were injured, though not seriously.
Taylor said Monday he had just left the hospital where doctors were telling Lawrence's family he has a fractured skull, facial fractures, a cracked pelvis, broken ribs, a punctured lung and the brain injury.
"They are keeping him asleep most of the time but when they have brought him out of it he has responded to their questions so that is encouraging," he said.
Taylor said there is no word on the length of the recovery Lawrence will face.
"The last few MRIs they have done have shown there is no additional brain swelling so that is great news," he said.
Taylor said his entire agency is praying for the young deputy, who began his career with the department as a jailer before being promoted to patrol deputy after completing the East Texas Police Academy.
Taylor said the Texas Department of Public Safety is conducting the investigation into the accident.
"Everyone is extremely worried about him because we are a close knit family. Everyone is coming up here when they are off to show their support to Hunter and his family. We ask that everyone in the community keep him in their thoughts and prayers," he said.