A gofundme.com page has been created to raise money to help the Montana Highway Patrol trooper severely injured Feb. 16 after being hit near Eureka by a pickup truck driven by a man wanted by law enforcement for a parole violation.
Injuries for 36-year-old Lewis Johnson include a punctured lung, damaged liver, head injury, broken ribs, broken arm, broken leg and severe spinal trauma, friends said.
Doctors anticipate recovery to be long and difficult, the GoFundMe page, at https://bit.ly/3lYT75C, states, adding the money raised will help Johnson and his family with the enormous expenses associated with his recovery.
More than $160,000 had been raised as of Tuesday afternoon.
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He was injured after being run over by a vehicle during a pursuit on Highway 37 in Lincoln County, about 10 miles southwest of Eureka.
Johnson was run over by the suspect vehicle, according to a press release from the Montana Highway Patrol. All individuals in the suspect vehicle were apprehended, the release said.
He was in stable condition and flown to Logan Health in Kalispell by air ambulance.
Johnson was born in 1987 in Chester. In 2014 Lewis and his wife Kate graduated from the Law Enforcement Academy and are both state troopers now stationed in Eureka. He is a Law Enforcement Torch Run volunteer and an avid outdoorsman with a love for hunting and fishing.
“He is a devoted husband, a loving father and an exceptional friend,” the GoFundMe page organized by Nina Stefani states. “It only takes a few minutes with Lewis before he has you laughing and knowing you have a true friend for life.”
The page includes a note from Johnson’s wife, Kate, from Saturday.
“Miracles happened today!” she wrote, adding the endotracheal tube was removed at 2 p.m.
“He was groggy but followed every order given and the tube was removed quickly with little discomfort,” she wrote. “He was able to speak softly immediately.”
Kate Johnson said by 4 p.m. Lewis was eating ice chips and sipping on water and visited a couple hours later with the deputy who was on the pursuit with him.
“Those two chatted for an hour and Lewis remembered every little detail of the event,” she wrote. “He's in great spirits and gives a strong handshake to everyone who visits.”
She said there is nothing much for sensation below his waistline, but he has some tingles on the upper right leg. She said they are getting him focused on walking and talking about the future like everything goes back to normal.
Kate Johnson said the trauma nurse has said it takes the body a year to fully recover and they will keep working hard.
According to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were trying to arrest Jason Allen Miller, 41, of Eureka, on a felony warrant for absconding from parole following a conviction on charges of criminal possession of dangerous drugs and two counts of theft.
Miller led deputies on a chase and drove his pickup truck south on state Highway 37, south of Eureka, according to the sheriff’s office. Johnson joined in the chase. Miller tried to turn onto Camp 32 Road and lost control of the truck. Johnson and deputies approached the vehicle.
Miller drove the truck at law enforcement and struck Johnson, authorities said. Deputies helped the trooper while other deputies continued the pursuit. A Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks warden intercepted Miller, who rammed the warden’s vehicle and was then taken into custody, the sheriff’s office said.
A female passenger in Miller’s truck jumped out during the pursuit and was apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol agents. She was questioned and released, sheriff’s officials said.
Jeffrey Zwang, Lincoln County deputy county attorney, said Miller is being held on the Department of Corrections warrant. He said the investigation into the arrest in which Johnson was injured was continuing and expected more charges would be filed.