ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL) — Community members have already raised thousands of dollars for a Washington County, Va. Sheriffs Office deputy injured in a pursuit Monday morning.
Deputy Tyler Arnold suffered a fractured C4 vertebrae in his neck and spinal cord damage in the pursuit, according to a friend speaking on behalf of Arnold’s family.
After 8 a.m. Monday, Abingdon Police Department officers initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by Clinton Vestal, who failed to pull over, a report said.
Vestal began driving south on I-81, attempted to cross a median, but eventually got stuck and was apprehended on foot. At some point in the chaos, Arnold collided with Vestal and suffered the injury.
News Channel 11 reached out to Arnold’s family, but they declined an interview because Arnold is still recovering in the intensive care unit at the Bristol Regional Medical Center.
A close friend of Arnold speaking on his family’s behalf said Arnold has already started physical therapy. The friend said Arnold has been mobile during therapy, even walking.
Fellow officers described Arnold as one of the hardest working deputies in the Washington County, Va. Sheriffs Office.
“We’re dealing with somebody that doesn’t get down very easily,” said Deputy Tanner Graham. “That’s what it’s going to take to recover from an injury this severe, but he’s moving in the right direction.”
Graham said he has spoken with Arnold since the injury, and Arnold is in good spirits. He expected a long recovery ahead.
Two days after the injury, community members have raised over $4,000 on a GoFundMe for Arnold’s medical bills and to help family take time off to care for him.
“To see something like this happening and seeing automatic response from the community is so encouraging and so positive,” Graham said. “I think he’s going to recover quite well. He’s young, has a lot of energy and has the motivation, which is most important.”
You can find the link to Arnold’s GoFundMe here.