An elderly pro-life woman is hospitalized in critical condition after a driver hit her while she participated in the annual LifeChain event over the weekend.
Margie Benge was standing on the sidewalk with a group of pro-life advocates Sunday afternoon in front of the library near downtown Jacksonville when an automobile jumped the curb and hit her. The car then dragged the woman 25 feet, hit a boat attached to a trailer, and stopped.
The Jacksonville Daily Progress has more on what happened:
The incident occurred about 2:30 p.m., said Detective James Oden, when a four-door sedan driven by 19-year-old Matthew McCauley of Bullard traveling north along South Jackson street bumped the curb just south of the Jacksonville Public Library, with the car straddling the sidewalk and the roadway. The vehicle continued to travel north, striking a boat pulled by another vehicle that was inside the northbound lane near the intersection of Rusk and Jackson streets, then struck Benge, who was seated near the road as she took part in the pro-life rally sponsored by Our Lady of Sorrows Church.
McCauley told the officer at the scene that he was suffering from a lack of sleep, according to the report. Police are waiting for results of bloodwork from the Department of Public Safety crime lab to determine whether charges will be filed against the driver.
Benge is in critical condition at Mother Francis Hospital in Tyler.
A young woman named Whitney posted comments about the condition of her grandmother.
“Margie is in extremely critical care in Tyler. My family is very devastated about what happened to our grandmother. Doctors are trying their best. All we can do right now is pray,” she wrote.
Later, Whitney added, “She was care flighted from Jacksonville hospital yesterday to Tyler. She was in a coma but today she was able to open her eyes on command and look side to side. She is able to wiggle her toes despite a broken pelvis. She’s had 12 pints of blood transfused since yesterday. Her CT scans haven’t changed from yesterday which means her brain isn’t swelling anymore but yet the swelling hasn’t gone down. Both of her hands are shattered and they had to cut off her wedding band.”
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Earlier today, Whitney provided an update: “We went to visit her last night in the ICU. When I got there, she was heavily sedated. There is nothing people can say to help you prepare yourself to see someone you love look they way they do after such a horrific accident. The nurse was able to wake her up so I could say that I was there. She squeezed my hand and nodded her head. The machine is still breathing for her. She hasn’t needed anymore blood since Sunday and the CT scans show no changes since Sunday which is a good and bad thing. That means her brain isn’t swelling anymore but the swelling hasn’t gone down either. The main goal right now is to get her to breathe on her own without the machine so the breathing tube can be removed; otherwise, she’ll have to have a tracheotomy. Thank you everyone for your prayers and kind words! We truly appreciate it!”