BUCKHANNON, W.Va. (WBOY) — It’s been more than a week since police say Matthew Brevosky, 38, of Grindstone, Pa. began shooting near Exit 99 on Interstate 79 in Lewis County. In the process, Brevosky shot a law enforcement officer.
Upshur County Chief Deputy Mike Coffman heard some commotion on the police scanner last Thursday when he and Upshur County Sheriff Virgil Miller decided to go help their neighbors in Lewis County.
“Sheriff Miller’s main priority was the southbound traffic and getting that shut off because [Lewis County] Chief Deputy [Michael] Cayton advised that they had to get the traffic off of them, and mine was too, my main priority, was to get the northbound traffic out of harm’s way of the scene there,” Chief Deputy Coffman said.
Chief Deputy Coffman cleared the northbound traffic as best as he could, and then went back to his vehicle to grab his rifle and help assist with the suspect, later identified as Brevosky.
“I didn’t make it back to my car to get that. I heard a gunshot. All about the same time, I felt my leg. Kind of in the back of my mind, I knew what happened, but I wasn’t wanting to, I was hoping it was just a graze or some shrapnel off of something,” the chief deputy said. “It just kept getting worse, and then I started seeing the blood and feeling the blood running down my leg and in my shoe and stuff. So, I knew at that point that it was worse than I had hoped it would be.”
Lewis County Sheriff Dave Gosa saw the damage and quickly helped Chief Deputy Coffman into the back of his own Upshur County cruiser with the help of Derek Long, a Buckhannon Firefighter, and Upshur County Assistant OEM Director. Long then drove the injured officer to nearby Mon Health Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital.
The chief deputy had surgery at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital, but not before calling his wife and two kids, who were on vacation in North Carolina.
“My wife and children were on vacation with her family down at the Outer Banks. So, as soon as I got in the car and got out of harm’s way, I had my cell phone and was able to call my wife,” Chief Deputy Coffman said.
The bullet went all the way through the officer’s leg… but missed his bone and major arteries that run through legs. The Chief Deputy said he feels lucky.
“I truthfully think I’m probably the luckiest guy on Earth right now. To be sitting here talking, and not have…one, to be sitting here talking or not to have a lot of other problems that I had to deal with,” Chief Deputy Coffman said.
The chief deputy also said he’s glad things weren’t any worse.
“You know, I say somebody was definitely higher above with me that day and all of the law enforcement officers because anytime you have someone with a high-powered rifle, up on an interstate full of people, a major highway, it could have been really bad,” he said.
Chief Deputy Coffman said he has received support from all over the state of West Virginia and beyond. He said he’s received messages from several other states and departments, giving well wishes to him and his family.
Chief Deputy Coffman said he’s looking forward to getting back to work as soon as possible, but, for now, plans to take it “week by week.”