Deputy is returned to ventilator

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 16, 2004

[2/16/04]Deputy Mike Hollingsworth was returned to a ventilator to assist his breathing this morning, Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said today.

Earlier, Hollingsworth’s father, Jack, said he believes his son will recover from his injuries, adding that people’s prayers are working.

“The response from the state and the nation and even internationally has been powerful,” Jack Hollingsworth said before returning to University Medical Center in Jackson to resume his vigil.

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Deputy Hollingsworth, 38, was struck on U.S. 80 a week ago today as he directed cars in a funeral procession into Green Acres Memorial Park.

Authorities think Ronald Vaughn, 23, driver of the Buick sedan that hit Hollingsworth, struck the deputy on purpose. He remains in jail without bond, charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.

“If you write anything, emphasize keep praying,'” Jack Hollingsworth said.

His son opened his eyes three times Friday in response to the voice of his wife, Debbie. “When she asked if he could speak, he placed his left hand to his throat,” Hollingsworth said, indicating he could not.

“I have no doubt he will come out of it, but we don’t know what condition he will be in,” Hollingsworth said. “That’s something time will tell, and we just have to be patient.”

UMC had upgraded Hollingsworth’s condition from critical to serious but stable; the condition was returned to critical this morning. He was initially on a ventilator, but had been breathing on his own for four days. He did not open his eyes or respond to voices during the weekend, his father said.

The elder Hollingsworth is a former Vicksburg police officer and Warren County sheriff’s deputy. He works as a probation officer but said nothing about the law-enforcement aspect of the case. His father was a state trooper, making Mike a third-generation officer.

Jack Hollingsworth said doctors are ordering scans and diagnostic tests to try to determine the location and extent of injuries. Mike appears unable to move his right side, his father said.

Regarding offers of support, Jack Hollingsworth, also a gospel recording artist, said family finances are holding up, but that won’t be the case indefinitely. Debbie Hollingsworth is an insurance agent, and the couple has two children.

“The people want to do benefits and such, and we really appreciate that,” Jack Hollingsworth said, “but right now prayer is more important.”

A bank account for donations is expected to be opened Tuesday.