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Injured Washington County, Va., deputy remains in intensive care

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The Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputy injured last week following a police chase remained in intensive care Thursday, according to Sheriff Blake Andis.

Deputy Tyler Arnold, 25, underwent surgery earlier in the week, the sheriff said.

“He’s a great deputy and well-respected by people,” Andis said.

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe account has been set up for the officer.

Andis said the GoFundMe account is not related to the Sheriff’s Office. Because his injuries occurred on the job, 100% of Arnold’s medical expenses will be covered, the sheriff added.

According to the GoFundMe posting, Arnold fractured the C4 vertebrae in his neck, which required extensive surgery, and he also had minor damage to his spinal cord that will require rehabilitation and recovery time.

Jeremy Phillippi organized the fundraiser to benefit Arnold’s mother, Vickie Rasnake, said Madeline Purdue, a regional spokeswoman for GoFundMe.

“The fundraising goal is $10,000; however, more or less can be raised,” Purdue said. “According to the fundraiser, the funds are for rehab, recovery and to support his mother as she takes off work to help Deputy Arnold during this time.”

As of Sunday night, there had been 128 donations totaling $13,000 to the account.

The deputy was injured following a chase on Monday, Nov. 29, morning that began when Abingdon police initiated a traffic stop in the Norfolk Street area of Abingdon. The driver refused to stop, and officers began pursuing the man, according to police.

The pursuit continued down West Main Street then proceeded onto Interstate 81 southbound, police said. The driver attempted to cross through the median, but his vehicle got stuck, police said.

He then fled on foot and was apprehended by officers, police said. During the arrest, Arnold was injured and later taken to Bristol Regional Medical Center, according to Hailey Rogers, captain of the Washington County Life Saving Crew.

The driver, identified as Clinton Vestal, suffered minor injuries. After receiving treatment, Vestal was transported to the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail and charged with improper registration, reckless driving, driving while suspended, felony eluding police and resisting arrest, police said.

On Thursday, Andis said he looks forward to Arnold’s return to work, but he doesn’t know when that will happen.

“I think that’s up to the doctors and God and everybody else,” he said.

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