ATLANTA -- A Virginia State Police trooper who was seriously injured during a high-speed pursuit in Scott County last week was transferred today to Shepherd Center in Atlanta for further treatment on a spinal chord injury he sustained.
According to the hospital, Trooper James C. Lawson, 41, of Gate City, was admitted to the Shepherd Center's Spinal Cord Injury unit for evaluation, care and observation.
Once doctors have determined a proper treatment plan for Lawson, he will begin a rigorous rehabilitation program under the guidance of a full team of specialists, a Shepherd Center spokeswoman said.
Prior to his transfer Thursday, Lawson had been receiving treatment at Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport since his April 9 wreck. Lawson was injured during a high-speed pursuit through Scott County.
The suspect in the chase, Jason Byrns, 33, of Kingsport, allegedly rammed Lawson's cruiser at one point during the pursuit on Daniel Boone Road, causing it to hit a parked truck head on.
Lawson had to be transported to Holston Valley by Med-Flight following the wreck and was listed in serious condition for over 24 hours afterwards. Following a week of treatment, Lawson was transported by the VSP to the Atlanta facility Thursday morning.
Founded in 1975, the Shepherd Center specializes medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury or brain injury. The private, non-profit hospital is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the U.S.
The medical and rehabilitative teams treating Lawson at the center typically include an attending physician, nurse, occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech language pathologist, recreation therapist, case manager, peer support specialist, nutritionist and psychologist, the spokeswoman said.
The spokeswoman said Lawson's family is appreciative for the outpouring of support they have received from the local community in Scott County following his accident.
A benefit fund for Lawson was set up earlier this week to help his family offset the cost of medical expenses. Donations to the benefit account can be made at any New Peoples Bank located in Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia or West Virginia.