Pastor who lost leg in hit-and-run: 'I heard a voice say you're - | WBTV Charlotte

Pastor who lost leg in hit-and-run: 'I heard a voice say you're not gonna die'


A Charlotte pastor is speaking out for the first time since he lost his leg in a hit-and-run crash while helping a stranded motorist.

Earlier this month, Reverend Leroy Dunlap stopped to help a stranded motorist on the Brookshire Freeway near the Church Street exit, but was struck by a motorist who sped away.

He lost his right leg in surgery.

"We had started pushing that car, got it to where it was and all of the sudden there was this impact," Dunlap said from his hospital bed Wednesday afternoon. "I went down to the ground and I started assessing immediately, and I saw that my left leg was pretty mangled.”

PHOTOS: Pastor, wife speak from hospital room

His wife, Theresa McCormick-Dunlap, was in the car and heard the collision.

“I remembered hearing a sound shortly after I pulled over," she recalled. "“I saw something and and heard something in the rear view mirror. It didn’t register.”

Dunlap founded Redemption Christian Ministries in north Charlotte and is also active in the local Black Lives Matter.

His connection to community explains why so many gathered to pray inside a hospital waiting room when they learned of the accident.

"It’s been quite humbling and very heartwarming to see people’s response," McCormick-Dunlap, said.

"One evening we were talking about it and he said, 'I know you're wondering if I would do it all again'," McCormick-Dunlap said in an interview Sunday. "He said, 'in order for us not to have stopped on the side of the road we would have had to have been two totally different people and that just wasn't going to happen'."

"That’s what we do. We help people," Dunlap reiterated Wednesday afternoon from his bed. "If someone needs a push, we push them."

Larry Rainey is the stranded motorist that Dunlap stopped to help.

"I didn't know him from anyone. He was a complete stranger to me," Rainey said. Then, he says, he heard a loud "pop."

Both men were struck by a vehicle.

"And the next thing I know, I wake up on the ground, facing the opposite direction and as I'm facing the opposite direction, I hear moaning," Rainey said.

Rainey's wrist was broken in the wreck.

"I said, 'man you're going to make it'," Rainey said about his conversation with Dunlap. "And he kept telling me, he said, 'I'm gone.' And I said, 'no you're not'."

RAW VIDEO: Reverend Leroy Dunlap talks about hit and run

"I said 'I'm gonna die'," Dunlap recalled Wednesday. "And I heard a voice say that 'you're not gonna die brother. You help me. I help you'."

Rainey is a youth minister at The Park Church.

"Here it was, a man laying down his life for a friend. He didn't even know the friend. It didn't make a difference, the color of his skin, or the walk of the man, it was just he was in need," Rainey said.

"My life will be forever changed. And whatever he needs, I'll be at his beckon call," Rainey said.

Dunlap has fought pneumonia in the hospital, worked on upper body strength and now he's ready for rehab.

"We’re concentrating on his recovery and just staying mentally strong," McCormick-Dunlap said.

But recovery isn't cheap.

"It is wiping out all of our bank accounts," Dunlap said. "The car that I have is not a car she can come pick me up in now because of my leg."

A Go Fund Me account has been set up for the pastor's medical expenses, CLICK HERE to learn more.

Police have not released a description of the car or driver who sped away after hitting Dunlap and Rainey, but Dunlap says they may be getting more clues.

The family says police told them they believe the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run may possibly be a 2003 silver Crown Victoria.

Rainey has a message for driver that left the two men on the ground, whoever they may be.

"Man up. You know that you did this, you know that your car came home different than it left," Rainey said.

Lisa Santiago, the assistant pastor at Redemption Christian Ministries, expects Dunlap to return to this place of worship strengthened.

"If there is anyone who could go through losing a leg and come back and stand in that pulpit, and deliver a message and call down heaven, he is the one," she said. "When he gets back in that pulpit, you all need to be here, because it's gonna be real," Santiago said.


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