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Montana law enforcement gather to support injured trooper

Trooper Johnson
Posted at 8:02 AM, Feb 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-27 10:16:34-05

KALISPELL - Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Lewis Johnson was run over by a suspect’s vehicle following a pursuit near Eureka on Feb. 16.

Johnson was seriously injured and transported by helicopter to Kalispell’s Logan Health to receive life-saving care.

On Sunday, law enforcement from across the state traveled to Kalispell to show support for Johnson and thank the men and women who helped save his life.

Johnson and his wife Kate briefly greeted those in attendance at Logan Health, thanking them for their ongoing support.

Logan Health Chief of Surgery Dr. Erik Peltz said Johnson’s recovery to this point has been incredible after spending several days on life support.

“He has recovered so phenomenally that I think within the next several days we will be looking for an opportunity to try to help transition him to that next level of care, where that focus will be on that long-term support and long-term function,” Peltz said.

Peltz said Johnson suffered severe spinal trauma that requires specialized care for recovery.

“And that recovery could be months to years, and while his other injures have stabilized and he should be able to fully recover through those, the spinal cord injury will take some time and we’re very grateful that he’s looking into specialized facilities to receive that care,” said Peltz.

RELATED: Montana Highway Patrol, wife thankful for support of injured trooper

Montana Highway Patrol Col. Steve Lavin was of many law enforcement officials to speak at the rally.

He praised the work of Lincoln County Sheriff Deputy Clint Heintz for rendering aid to Trooper Johnson on scene, helping save his life while highlighting the need for continued financial support for the Johnson family.

“He saved his life and thank goodness he had combat medic skills, and you know to illuminate this for the family and for the fundraising efforts because most things are covered but there’s a lot of side expenses to injuries like this,” said Lavin.

Heintz is close friends with Johnson and his family. He used his combat medic skills to save his friend's life.

“One, we didn’t know where the suspect was so making sure we’re still safe while making sure he’s breathing and making sure there’s no massive hemorrhage, and then just keeping his airway intact and him talking to me was the most important and keeping him warm,” said Heintz.

Elected officials voiced messages of support during the event, including Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen.

The man accused of injuring Trooper Johnson is facing felony charges, including attempted deliberate homicide.

“We’re going to make sure that he’s held to account, he’s going to get the absolute best prosecutors that Montana has and that we can throw at him, so we’re going to make sure that justice is done in this case,” said Knudsen.

A GoFundMe page has been created to support Johnson and his family.