A Fort Worth police officer was in stable condition Friday after surgery for injuries sustained in a crash during a high-speed pursuit Thursday afternoon
The officer, R.A. Lambing, crashed on rain-soaked roads on Interstate 30 near Ederville Road on Thursday afternoon. Aerial footage from Chopper 5 showed the officer's car next to a tree that was partially ripped from the ground.
The officer was transported to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries, a MedStar spokesperson told NBC DFW.
Lambing underwent surgery for a severe head trauma, Fort Worth police said Thursday night. Police said the surgery went as planned, and the next 24 hours would be critical.
On Friday morning, Fort Worth Chief Jeffrey Halstead said, “We are relieved that Officer Lambing is showing promising signs of potential recovery. His injuries continue to remain very, very serious and we are praying for him. My heart absolutely sank when I received the phone call and when I observed how extensive his injuries were at the hospital. Looking at his patrol car alone serves as a reminder of how dangerous this job can be.”
After the crash, dispatch called off pursuit of the motorcycle the officer was chasing.
"The man on the motorcycle had to be going a hundred miles an hour," a witness said. "He had to be."
The officer was assisting the Tarrant County Sheriff's Department, which initiated the chase.
Sheriff Dee Anderson said undercover deputies spotted two motorcycles at a house in Mansfield they had under surveillance. Deputies believed there was a large amount of drugs at the house, said Terry Grisham, of the sheriff's department.
"The investigators at the scene had reason to believe, through a confidential informant, that these guys might have showed up on the motorcycle to move some of the drugs, and that's the reason we were trying to get them stopped," Anderson said.
Deputies attempted to pull over one of the motorcycles, which was missing a license plate, but the rider refused to stop, Grisham said.
The department then requested assistance from Fort Worth police.
"We're trying to figure out how our pursuit policy got kind of twisted up," Grisham said. "We should never have been pursuing people we didn't know were in possession of drugs. We assumed, but we didn't know. We can only pursue in felony or DWI cases. These [deputies] have some explaining to do."
Lambing is a 15-year veteran of the department who is assigned to the East Patrol Division.
"One of our family members is here at the hospital, a very well-liked member of the family. Our thoughts and prayers need to be with the officer," said Halstead.
"Our prayers are with him," Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief said. "I would ask the city to pray for him and his family, as well as the Fort Worth police family. We are all hurting this evening."
On Thursday afternoon, Fort Worth Police apprehended a suspect on an unrelated felony theft warrant and is believed to be connected to the original narcotics investigation in Mansfield. It is unknown at this time whether this individual was involved in the pursuit.
Investigators from the police department and the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office are working together to follow up on leads. If anyone has any information they are encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at 817-469-TIPS or visit the Fort Worth Police Department's website at www.fortworthpd.com
NBC DFW's Scott Gordon and Julie Tam contributed to this report.