Injured Texas Ranger undergoes surgery on Wednesday

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 3:40pm

An off-duty accident on Monday has caused serious injury to a Texas Ranger, stationed out of Waco.

Lieutenant James Scoggins, 50, is in intensive care at University Medical Center in El Paso, where he was undergoing a three hour spinal surgery Wednesday afternoon.According to Matt Cawthorn, Chief Deputy Sheriff of McLennan County, Scoggins is somewhat paralyzed. It’s unclear whether the paralysis is permanent, he says.

Cawthorn says doctors have explained that "they are trying to relieve some pressure in between two discs in his [Scoggin's] spinal cord". Doctors believe the discs may be resting on the spinal cord, which appears to be causing the paralysis. Doctors are hopeful, Cawthorn says, that this will be Scoggins' only surgery, but he will have a long road to recovery.

Cawthorn says Scoggins was injured while riding through rough mountainous terrain in the desert, in the mountains northeast of Big Bend Park, when something caused his dirt bike to crash, ejecting Scoggins. Scoggins was riding with a few off-duty officers.

“It was a pretty daring rescue completed by the Department of Public Safety, using their helicopter, Texas Rangers, and Border Patrol,” said Cawthorn.
Cawthorn says a helicopter was brought in to get Scoggins out of the mountains. Several seats in the helicopter had to be removed prior to rescuing Scoggins, in order to fit him inside because the helicopter was not made to rescue people. However, Cawthorn says that was the only way to get Scoggins to help.

Cawthorn is with the family, in El Paso, now. Scoggins’ wife, who is Sheriff Parnell McNamara’s secretary, flew out to El Paso Monday night.

“I’m coming out to here to be with the family and represent the sheriff’s department,” said Cawthorn via telephone.

At this time, it appears Scoggins has suffered a spinal cord injury.

Cawthorn says Scoggins is responsible for supervising several counties in Central Texas. He is based out of Waco. Cawthorn and Scoggins have been friends for the past three decades.

The community is currently working together to set up an account to raise funds to help cover the costly out-of-pocket costs that insurance does not cover.

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