Liberty County officer in critical condition after truck plows through traffic barrier

DAYTON, Texas — A constable is fighting for his life after a pickup truck plowed through a traffic barrier and ran into him in southwest Liberty County, authorities said. Charges are still pending against the driver, who was in the car with his 8-year-old daughter. bbq-johnston

Constable Justin Johnston underwent surgery around 3 a.m. Thursday and remains in ICU at Memorial Hermann Hospital with his wife and other family members at his bedside, the Liberty County Constable’s Office said.

His sister, Julie Johnston Wilner, said the officer has undergone several CT scans and has swelling on the brain.

The Justin Johnston Benefit Fund has been established to help the family cover medical expenses. Donations can be made at any Prosperity Bank. The Johnston family said its thankful to everyone for their calls of concern, prayers and well wishes.

Johnston and several other officers were directing traffic around 5:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Park and Ride lot on Highway 146 — about 3 miles south of FM 1413 — when a red pickup truck ran through the traffic barricade protecting them, the constable’s office said. The barricade was marked off with cones and a flashing siren lights from a deputy unit when the driver bulldozed through the barrier and constable’s vehicle before spinning out of control and hitting Johnston, investigators said. The constable was tossed into the air, causing him to hit his head on the pavement. The rear wheel of the truck then passed over Johnston, the constable’s office said.

The pickup truck driver has been identified as Samuel C. Leyva, 39.

Johnston, Leyva and his daughter were airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital. The driver was taken in with several broken bones but is expected to live. The child received minor injuries and was taken to the hospital to be with her father.

At the hospital, officers said blood was taken from the driver.

Meanwhile, the Texas Department of Public Safety is handling the crash investigation.

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