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Bertie County community pays tribute to injured deputy

Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 7:44 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 7, 2022 at 7:45 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Bertie County Sheriff’s Deputy Colter Lipscomb continues his recovery after being critically injured when his patrol vehicle hydroplaned on U.S. 13 on Wednesday.

According to his mother, Netta Lipscomb, he is making remarkable progress at Vidant Medical Center.

Lipscomb is sedated and on a ventilator, but he has opened his eyes a few times overnight and responded to his mother’s voice with head nods.

Today, he was able to give doctors a thumbs up.

So far, the deputy has undergone two surgeries. One took place soon after his arrival at Vidant Medical Center, and repaired abdomen and chest injuries and bleeding.

The other, taking place the following day, repaired femur, hip, and pelvic fractures.

“I am in awe of this miracle,” Netta Lipscomb told WITN News.

For close family friend Lorie Beth Thomas, Colter’s absence is already felt across the county.

“When we found out, it was pretty shattering, because he’s my husband’s best friend and he literally feels like part of our family,” Thomas said.

Thomas is the owner of Kaley Jase Boutique in downtown Windsor. She says Colter would drop into the store unannounced all the time to put a smile on their faces.

“He’s so loved, I think more than he knows,” Kaley Jase employee Renee Harden said. “He’s just made a really huge impact on our community.”

Lipscomb is also often seen at Rachel’s Bakery and Cafe enjoying lunch.

“Colter comes in here quite often,” said Sissie Dunlow behind the counter. “We see him running by the bakery. Often, they come in here to eat. We just think a lot of Colter. He’s a sweet guy.”

The bakery has now started a new tradition to keep Colter and his family in everyone’s prayers.

“Every to-go order that we get comes in a clear plastic tray. We tape one of these ‘Pray for Colter’ [signs] on it, along with a bible verse,” Dunlow said.

Keeping the Lipscomb family in their thoughts, everyone is reflecting on how important Colter’s presence, and his quirks, are to their lives.

“We thank him for the happiness that he brings,” Thomas said. “You never know what he’s going to do. He picks up animals all the time.”

Lauren Belch, who runs with Colter in the summertime, recalls a special moment shared between the two.

“He opened his back door, and he had a stork in a net on his back seat just walking around,” Belch said.

Fond of animals and a good laugh, Belch isn’t the only target of Colter’s tricks.

“I had a turtle left at my doorstep named Speedy,” Thomas said. “That’s the kind of stuff he does. He’s just funny. You never know when he’s popping in and he just really adds happiness and joy and fun to the community.”

Deputy Lipscomb is anticipated to make a full recovery from his injuries but will need extensive rehabilitation therapy to get there.

When he makes his return to Bertie County, his community has promised to help him, every step of the way.

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