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Local Virginia State Police trooper sent to spinal cord rehab facility in Atlanta

By Rebecca Pepin
Published On: Apr 18 2013 03:20:56 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 18 2013 03:21:41 PM CDT
ATLANTA, Ga. -

Injured Virginia State Police Trooper Jamie Lawson, 41, of Gate City, was transferred today to Shepherd Center in Atlanta.

Trooper Lawson sustained a spinal cord injury in a motor vehicle accident in the line of duty on April 9.

It all began when a man avoided a Virginia State Police checkpoint set up in Scott County.

Authorities say the suspect, Jason Byrns of Kingsport, crashed into the car of Trooper Lawson during the pursuit.

Trooper Lawson has been admitted to Shepherd Center’s Spinal Cord Injury Unit for evaluation, care and observation.

After doctors at Shepherd Center determine an appropriate treatment plan for Trooper Lawson, he will begin a rigorous rehabilitation program under the guidance of a full team of medical and rehabilitation specialists.

Shepherd Center specializes in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury or brain injury.

Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is a private, not-for-profit hospital and is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation.

Following the accident, Trooper Lawson was treated acutely at Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, Tenn.

Medical and rehabilitative teams at Shepherd Center typically include the following: an attending physician, nurse, occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech language pathologist, recreation therapist, case manager, peer support specialist, nutritionist and psychologist.

The family is appreciative for the outpouring of support from the community. A fund has been established at New Peoples Bank to help offset medical expenses.

For more information about Shepherd Center, visit shepherd.org.

As for the suspect in this case,  Jason Byrns has been charged with attempted capital murder, eluding police, and possession of drugs with intent to distribute.