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Victim recalls wreck
He is one of two men struck on Dec. 23
Sunday, February 23, 2014
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
When Manley “Lee” Lawrence arrived at Memorial Hospital after being struck by a vehicle, one of his first concerns was for Phillip Hayes, his blind friend and neighbor.
Lawrence had asked “if I got hit by the car, too,” Hayes said he was told. After learning that Hayes also had been struck, Hayes said he was told that Lawrence replied, “I was supposed to have been taking care of him. I can’t believe this.”
Hayes, 47, and Lawrence, 55, lived in neighboring apartments on Spring Drive, Collinsville. The two men were struck by a vehicle around 7:12 p.m. Dec. 23 on U.S. 220, according to previous reports.
Lawrence died Feb. 10, and his landlord is attempting to locate his family to notify them of that. Hayes is recuperating from injuries received in the incident.
The men allegedly were struck by a 2008 Scion XB “when they stepped out in front of the vehicle,” police have said.
The driver stopped and called for help, according to authorities, and no charges were filed against the driver.
Because Hayes is blind, he did not know where the two were in the road when they were struck or some other details of the incident. However, he recalled that “we had walked down to the store, went in the store, and I got two sodas and a pack of cigarettes.”
Hayes left the store first, and when Lawrence came out, he recalled that while they “usually take a right and walk back up” to the apartments, “when he came out the store, instead of turning right, we kept (straight) across the lot of the store. When we got to the edge of the sidewalk, he looked to see if anything was coming. After he looked, he took me by the arm, and said, ‘Okay, we can go,’” Hayes said. “The next thing I know, we were hit by the car.”
Hayes said he did not know how far they went across the road before the impact, but his girlfriend — who arrived shortly after the accident — told him that “we were almost out of the road.”
Hayes said he apparently was the second to be struck.
“I know the driver told the trooper that he hit Lee first,” Hayes said.
When he was struck, Hayes said “I went up on the hood ... and rolled off the side of the car. I think the right side.”
“When I was on the ground, my girlfriend came down there and asked ‘Are you okay,’ and I said ‘yeah, but I believe I broke my legs,’” Hayes said.
Hayes said he and Lawrence initially were treated at Memorial Hospital in Martinsville.
Although the two did not talk again, he said that he felt Lawrence “must have got hurt pretty bad because when” he was being examined, “he was like screaming in pain,” Hayes said.
The two men later were transferred to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, and Lawrence stayed in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit), Hayes said.
Physicians “told me I had messed my knee up and broke my elbow. I had fractures in my neck, back and pelvis,” Hayes said.
He left the hospital on Jan. 1, and spent more than a month in the Stanleytown Health and Rehabilitation Center, Hayes said. Now he is at home in a wheelchair and “I’m doing pretty good. I’m moving around a little bit,” he said.
He will remain in the chair “until the doctor finds out how my leg is,” he said. He returns to the doctor in March.
He remembers Lawrence fondly.
“We were friends. You know, we lived beside each other,” Hayes said. “Lee would come over here and sit and talk, watch TV with us. He was a nice guy to me. He would do anything he could for anybody. If you asked him for help and he had what you needed, he would be willing to give it to you.”
Hayes said he believes Lawrence’s home was in Minnesota, but he said he does not know any of his relatives.
“He said he was going back (to Minnesota) next month,” Hayes said. “But he didn’t get to make it home.”