A homeless man, Ronald Wrenn, was hit by a car on Friday night while crossing South Eugene Street on his way to the Salvation Army Center of Hope’s emergency overflow night shelter. He died shortly afterward** at Moses Cone Hospital. I found out just after it happened from our church’s outreach director, Marshall, who’d talked to the downtown cops that we do street outreach with. They’d just been at the scene of the accident. I went by the hospital later to check on him and found out that he’d died. Family members had already been notified. I had posted a message to Facebook earlier, asking all our friends to pray for him, but I waited to blog about it because the information had not yet been released to the public. It was posted on the web site of the News & Record a little while ago, so I’m posting it now, too.
I didn’t know Ronald well; Marshall knew him better. Ronald ate at the weekly community dinners at our church, Grace Community, at the Food Not Bombs dinners at the library on Monday nights, and we’d seen him on NightWatch. I remember him as being very polite and quiet, not much of a talker, but always smiling and thankful for the meals we served.
I talked to my friend and ministry partner Audrie last night, when I found out about the accident, and again after I found out that he died. We are both shocked and sad. I’m praying for the young lady who hit him. I can’t imagine how traumatizing that must be for her. That’s a very dangerous stretch of road for pedestrians to cross. We tell our NightWatch volunteers to be very careful when they leave the parking lot at night, because there are a lot of people walking and crossing the road in that area, and it’s dark and hard to see them. This is just so, so sad.
LORD, be with the family, and with our friends who knew Ronald, and give them comfort and peace…
**UPDATE: Just got a phone call. Although news reports say Ronald died at the hospital, witnesses tell me that Ronald died at the scene. Based on what they saw, they believe that he was killed instantly or died within minutes. I hope that this is true, because it means that he probably didn’t suffer. One of his friends tells me, “He had a lot of friends… He was well-liked on the street.” Also, he used to fly a sign right off of Westover Terrace, by the elementary school, so you may have seen him. I’ll try to get a picture of him.