Doctors amputated part of the leg of the Clark County sheriff’s deputy whose SUV was crushed Wednesday when a portion of a snow-heavy tree fell on it.
Deputy Drew Kennison underwent surgery at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, according to the sheriff’s office. His left leg was amputated just above the knee.
He will need additional surgeries over the next few weeks, but the sheriff’s office said he is in good spirits with his friends and family. He was in stable condition.
Kennison has been with the agency for 14 years.
The crash was reported at 10:14 a.m. on Washougal River Road near Salmon Falls Road, just past the Skamania County line.
Investigators said they believe heavy snow broke off the upper portion of the large tree, which fell onto Kennison’s vehicle where the windshield meets the hood. The vehicle then came to a stop against another tree, according to a sheriff’s office news release.
Kennison was in Skamania County driving back from a SWAT team training, the sheriff’s office said. Several other officers on the team were traveling with him and quickly provided first aid. They applied tourniquets to his arm and leg, which the agency said saved his life.
A public works truck was in the area and removed the tree from across the vehicle before medics and fire personnel arrived. It took rescuers 40 minutes to reach the crash site because of the winter weather conditions, the sheriff’s office said.
Once heavy rescue crews arrived, they extricated Kennison from the vehicle. He was taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, where he was stabilized before he was taken to the Portland hospital.
“We are so grateful for the swift response of many area first responder agencies who provided swift and compassionate care to Drew,” an online donation account from the deputy sheriff’s guild states. “They battled weather and road conditions to get to Drew as quickly as possible.”
Kennison has worked in patrol and also served on the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force and the Tactical Detective Unit.
The sheriff’s office said the agency will continue to support Kennison and his family throughout his recovery.
“Drew is a shining light in the sheriff’s office and the community. His smile, laugh and sense of humor have been witnessed by many,” the guild fundraiser states.
The donation account states money will go toward Kennison’s medical bills and his family’s financial needs. It can be found at unionly.io/o/ccdsg/donations-for-drew.
People can also address cards and letters of encouragement to Deputy Drew Kennison & Family c/o Clark County Sheriff’s Office at P.O Box 410 Vancouver, WA 98666.
The sheriff’s office thanked community members for their thoughts and prayers, in addition to the medical staff at the PeaceHealth and Legacy hospitals.