ST. PAULS N.C. (WBTW/WNCN) – A Robeson County detective struck by a truck in a construction zone remains hospitalized with a severe concussion.
Robeson County Sheriff Burnis Wilkins posted on Friday afternoon that Detective Stephen Matthew Lassiter’s medical staff will slowly begin the process of removing a ventilator over the next day or so.
“Unbelievably, there appear to be no broken bones but a severe concussion calls for us to keep our faith in God and the doctors’ hands as we pray that Matt will overcome,” Wilkins posted.
On Saturday evening, Wilkins said that he met with Lassiter in the hospital on Saturday and that the deputy was improving.
“We asked him to give a thumbs up if he understood me and he did so. He did that a couple more times during the conversation and blinked his eyes as his mom asked during a conversation,” Wilkins wrote on Facebook.
Wilkins wrote that Lassiter still has “a long way to go,” but was making progress and that doctors were “positive.”
“Unbelievable under the circumstances that lead to this situation and nothing less than a miracle,” the sheriff wrote.
A man has been charged after his truck struck Lassiter while he was directing traffic.
Lawrence Adair, II, of Hope Mills, was driving a 2017 Ford truck at about 12:05 a.m., heading toward Parkton when he hit the detective, according to officials. Adair has been charged with failing to reduce speed.
“The guy that stuck him said that his attention diverted over to the blue light and wasn’t looking straight ahead,” said Wilkins.
Lassiter, 31, suffered severe head trauma and other injuries and was airlifted to McLeod Medical Center in Florence.
Lassiter was one of several deputies diverting traffic from I-95 south at Exit 33. Traffic was being sent over the bridge onto 301 north of St. Paul’s. Construction crews were working on the bridge.
“Matt is a very good friend of mine. I’ve known him ever since he was at the sheriff’s office. My heart goes out to him and I’m praying for him and his family,” said Senator Danny Britt.
A post on Facebook reads: “Sheriff Burnis Wilkins is asking everyone to please pray for the Sheriff’s Investigator and his family as they await final results from testing being conducted at the hospital.”
A couple who lives nearby told News13 that construction crews have been working on this bridge for about two weeks.
“We’re shocked, because we didn’t hear anything. The traffic gets real bad especially when the truckers are gearing up it down instead of hitting the brakes, it can wake you up,” said Richard and Joice Hinson.
Here is the full Facebook post from Sheriff Wilkins on Saturday:
Jamie and I visited Matt this afternoon. All I can say is God Is Good. We were allowed to spend a few minutes with Matt. He opened his eyes and I spoke to him. We asked him to give a thumbs up if he understood me and he did so. He did that a couple more times during the conversation and blinked his eyes as his mom asked during a conversation. Unbelievable under the circumstances that lead to this situation and nothing less than a miracle. Matt’s doctor stopped by briefly and spoke positive about his progress as well. Still a long way to go but I ask everyone to please be supportive of him and his family as their is no doubt this has taken a toll.
Let’s get Matt back up and running. Continued Prayers for your public servant. Thanks everyone.
The investigation is ongoing.