Gas station crash victim’s foot healing
STACEY MULICK; Staff writer
So far, it appears Mary Healey will be able to keep her right foot.
The 54-year-old Parkland mother has been through two surgeries since the foot was nearly severed in late July when a distracted driver crashed into her minivan as she pumped gas in Lakewood.
Doctors have put a rod into her ankle and wrapped her leg with bandages. She has feeling in parts of the foot and can point her toes downward.
“Those are all good signs,” Healey said Friday. “I am totally amazed at how the healing is going.”
She’s progressed from a wheelchair to a walker and, most recently, to crutches. Her activity still is limited, though. She can’t put weight on her right foot and hasn’t been able to drive or return to work.
“The wounds are still healing in my leg,” said Healey, who’s worked as a secretary at Lochburn Middle School in Lakewood for seven years and also served as a bookkeeper at Living Way Foursquare Church. “Eventually, I will able to go back full time.”
Healey was headed to her Lakewood church the night of July 24 for her 15-year-old daughter’s youth group when her minivan ran out of gas. She was able to get a friend and one of her sons to bring her enough gas to get her to the Union 76 gas station, 10712 Bridgeport Way S.W., so she could replenish her tank.
She sent her daughter to the church group with a fellow parishioner.
As Healey stood outside pumping gas, a pickup truck careened across an intersection, onto a sidewalk, through a landscaped area and crashed into Healey’s minivan. The minivan pinned Healey against the island holding the gas pumps and severely damaged her right foot.
The pickup driver ran from the scene as a U.S. Army medic and seven Air Force airmen from out of state tended to Healey.
Lakewood police found the driver, 23-year-old Yoni Valencia, a short time later. He said he’d been having a bad conversation with his mother on his cellphone and wasn’t paying attention to traffic right before the crash.
Valencia has pleaded not guilty to charges of vehicular assault, felony hit-and-run, driving with a suspended license and obstructing a police officer. He is awaiting trial.
Healey said she doesn’t remember the crash. She only knows the details from others.
She’s been able to communicate with the seven airmen from New Jersey who came to her aid but not the Army medic. He’s still a mystery.
Healey knows him only as Pfc. Delgado. She’s not been able to track down his first name or his unit.
“They are my lifesavers,” she said of the men who helped her.
Healey said she’s relied on the help of friends when she needs to run errands. Fellow parishioners have donated medical equipment for her at-home recovery. Her four children also have helped.
She faces at least one more surgery. Doctors have told her that if they can save her right foot, her right leg will be about two inches shorter than her left.
In the meantime, she’s keeping tabs on the criminal case. She wants the driver to take responsibility for what happened.
“I want him to face the fact that he almost took my life,” Healey said. “He has totally changed my life by being careless and talking on the cellphone.”
Stacey Mulick: 253-597-8268