HAMPSTEAD – No words can describe how tragedy can change the course of a person’s life in an instant. For 23-year-old Collin McClearn, a routine work task turned his family’s journey upside down in mere seconds last month when he was involved in a car accident.
According to state Department of Transportation records, McClearn was driving a truck near near intersection of NC 242 and Princess Anne Road in Columbus County when it was struck in its side by a car driven by a 29-year-old woman who had ran the stop sign. The impact sent the truck out of control and off the road, where it overturned in a ditch.
The driver of the car was killed. Her passenger later died. McClearn lay trapped in the overturned vehicle for more than an hour, according to his wife. Once freed, he was airlifted to Grand Strand Medical Center in nearby Myrtle Beach. He was initially listed in serious, but stable condition, and later underwent emergency surgery.
Portions of his fragmented T12 vertebrae were removed from his spinal cord. His back was surgically repaired with pins, needles and a rod from his T10-L2 vertebrae, which was added for support. But he is suffering permanent paraplegia. He may never walk again.
McClearn, a Hampstead resident, became a new father to Abigail McClearn in October 2016 and was engaged to Briana Moyer this past December. As his new family began to set their sights on a bright future, they never thought they’d be battling the obstacles presented after the wreck on Feb. 20.
As McClearn continues the long recovery and rehabilitation process, his new fiancée has joined him in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Shepard Center for spinal cord injury rehabilitation.
After originally being scheduled to be at the specialized hospital from four to six weeks, McClearn will now remain hospitalized for a minimum of eight weeks due to a puncture in his lung caused by two broken ribs. After arriving in Atlanta, his lung completely collapsed, and a chest tube was inserted, delaying the start of rehabilitation.
“During this time we are without our 4-month-old daughter and it’s hurting him more than anything,” Moyer said. “She comes and visits every couple weekends. Seeing it is over a seven-hour drive, it’s not practical for her to come every weekend.
“There is no doubt that he will fight and get stronger every day. He knows it will be a long road to recovery and is in need of support.”
Moyer created a GoFundMe Page to help with the day-to-day expenses and keep their daughter fed and clothed as well as pay for upcoming medical expenses.
Since the fundraising page was created on Feb. 22, $18,660 had been donated by nearly 300 people. Click here to read more about McClearn’s story and help this local family in distress.