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Selma Wreck Actually Saves Man's Life

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SELMA, N.C. — A local doctor said crashing a pickup truck into a building actually saved a man's life. That man returned home from the hospital Thursday -- 1 1/2 weeks after the wreck.

Jerry Wood is now recovering at home after spending more than a week in the hospital. On Jan. 16, the pickup he was driving veered off the road and slammed into the side of Temple of Joy Church in Selma. The building was destroyed, and Woods doesn't remember much.

"I go through the stop light, it was green, and that's the last thing I remember," said Wood. "It's almost like 'Zip!' and it was just so peaceful."

Doctors said he had a heart attack seconds before the accident, and his heart temporarily stopped beating. The doctors told Wood that if he hadn't slammed into the side of the church, he probably wouldn't have survived.

"Once I hit the building, the impact and everything caused my heart to start pumping again," said Wood.

"Well, timing is everything to God," said Temple of Joy Pastor James Neal. "Right place at the right time, right individual."

Neal and his congregation are tearing the rest of their sanctuary down brick-by brick before they rebuild. The town condemned their church, but none of that seems to matter.

"I'd rather for the building to shock him back to life then for him to be dead and gone," said Neal.

"I'm tickled to death, you know," said Wood. "If (the pickup0 hadn't (crashed), I'd been gone. Wouldn't be able to see my grandchildren get older."

Instead, he now gets another chance, thanks in part to a place built to save souls.

Wood, a retired dentist, now has a pacemaker to help with his heart condition. Members of the Temple of Joy Church said they will work together to rebuild on the original site.