Community gathers for injured Liberty County deputy

LIBERTY COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A constable who was hit by a car while directing traffic Wednesday was able to stand and take steps on his own over the weekend, according to family friends.

Liberty County constable Justin Johnston was struck by a vehicle last week when a driver, identified as Samuel Leyva, tried to pass a line of cars and ended up launching vehicles toward Johnston, authorities said.

Johnston was airlifted to a Houston hospital in critical condition.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Liberty Co. Constable hit by truck may have severe head injuries

Leyva was also badly injured and has not been charged. A sample of his blood was taken to test for substances, according to law enforcement.

A prayer service Sunday was originally planned as a vigil to ask that Johnston's life be spared, but instead it turned to a celebration of the progress he's already shown, said Ted Smith, priest of the St. Stephen's Episcopal Church.

"In a few days, it's an incredible healing process. So everybody, especially the family and Justin himself, is strongly encouraged by his progress," Smith said.

He said Johnston, who was originally said to have grave head injuries, awoke Sunday and was able to breathe and eat on his own.

Johnston remains in the ICU but may be moved to a general care area in the coming days, Smith said.
Copyright © 2019 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.