SPECIAL REPORT: Injured trucker’s wife keeps vigil

| 1/13/2005

Renie McCreary clutches a tear-soaked tissue and her eyes are red, but she manages to smile as she talks of miracles.

It's been a week since her husband Montgomery - nicknamed "Mac" - was hit by a tractor-trailer at Middlesex Township's Pilot Travel Plaza, she keeps a vigil at his bedside at Hershey Medical Center.

The 56-year-old trucker remains in an induced coma, listed in critical condition each day since he was run down in what appears to be a hit-and-run that dragged him 90 feet before he was dropped near a fuel island. His right leg has been amputated at the hip and his left leg may have to be removed, too.

Saved by 'miracle'
Doctors call him their "Miracle Man," Renie McCreary says. "He laid in that parking lot with his main artery torn out of his leg for 15 minutes before someone found him. Anyone else would be dead, but God saved him. God has a plan for him."

The Castalian Springs, TN., woman was working at Howard's Health Foods, a locally-owned herbal store not far from her home, when a highway patrol officer walked in to tell her Mac had been hurt and might not survive.

Within hours, she packed her bags and started the 14-hour trip to Hershey with a close family friend, Cindy Wilson.

Mac McCreary was already unconscious when they arrived, but the women talked to him all day anyway.

"We pray and read scriptures, I tell him how much I love him and I tease him like I would normally do," Renie McCreary says, smiling. She believes he hears her "because of the hope I have inside."

She says it was a miracle he survived the trip from Middlesex to Hershey. Because of rain, he had to be taken by ambulance instead of by helicopter.

And little miracles keep pouring in as friends from across the country send encouragement and financial support ... as congregants at New Life Assembly of God church in Grantville provide company, warm meals and laundry services to the women ... and as, little by little, her husband improves.

Tuesday's little miracle was simply that the swelling in his eyes subsided enough to reveal his eyelashes for the first time since he was injured.

Three decades of love
McCreary says her husband is a loving, analytical man with a dry sense of humor. He's been the love of her life since they met three decades ago. The couple married in 1977, had three children and toured the country together in his tractor-trailer.

A trucker for 15 years, he worked for Bentex Inc., a Nashville-based company. He had stopped before at the Route 11 truck stop where he was hit and he had even taken his wife there.

Recalling how "cautious" her husband was on the job, McCreary says he "taught me how to walk in (truck stop) parking lots. He showed me to stay in the drivers' views at all times."

That's why she was so surprised he was hit - and she wants to find the person responsible.

"Anyone who knows anything, even the smallest bit of information, I want them to call the police," she says. "We're praying for the person who did this. We want them to come forward."

Driver had to know
Because her husband's injuries are so severe, she says, the driver "couldn't have not known" Mac McCreary had been hit.

"I just want to talk to the person about the Lord and about forgiveness," his wife says, adding her husband "would have been the first to come and help someone else."

He has used his citizens' band radio handle "Holy Ghost Rider" - a name she came up with - as a conversation starter to tell others about his faith in God. She ministers to customers at work and they minister together outside of work.

Since he was hurt one week ago, McCreary has dropped everything to be at his side - everything, that is, but her faith.

"God is in control," she says. "He'll turn this around."

And as old and new friends across the nation hear their story, she says, the couple is ministering to more people than they ever have before.

That, she says, may be their greatest miracle of all.

Editor's note:  This story by Tiffany Pakkala appeared in the Jan. 10, 2005, Carlisle Sentinel. The Sentinel has givenLand Line permission to publish the story on our Web sites. Pakkala is a staff reporter for the Sentinel.

For more information on the accident, see LL's coverage from the Jan. 10 daily news. The accident occurred about 7 a.m. on Jan. 3 at the Pilot Travel Center on the Harrisburg Pike, Carlisle, PA. If anyone witnessed the accident, please contact the Middlesex Township Police Department in Carlisle at (717) 249-7191.