McCOLL — Shortly after 5 a.m. May 30 about six miles south of the North Carolina state line, 30-year-old Jonathan Griggs was found unconscious at the wheel of his wrecked car.
“They said the car was cold when they found him,” said Peggy Davis, Griggs’ mother. “It could have happened several hours before they found him.”
Davis said Griggs was returning home to Hamlet, N.C. from visiting a friend in South Carolina when the crash occurred. She does not know who found her son in the early light of the following morning along S.C. 381 or who reported the crash.
State troopers and paramedics were called to the scene and Griggs was rushed to McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence.
“All I know is the hospital called me that morning and told me, ‘You need to get down here,’” Davis said. “He was in surgery when I got there. It seems like it was a long time. A long time before they brought him up. He was on a ventilator and couldn’t talk or anything. His left leg was crushed and had to be amputated. It was a real bad car accident. Real bad.”
She said a S.C. Highway Patrol trooper later contacted her to let her know that if she had any questions, she could call him.
“I have his name, but it’s in my phone,” she said. “I don’t remember who he was. I haven’t had to call him for anything.”
Davis said her son remained in the McLeod trauma intensive care unit from May 30 to June 17 before he was finally transferred to a regular ICU room after he came off the ventilator. Three weeks after the wreck, he remained in the ICU with serious injuries including a broken hip joint, broken pelvis, bruised lungs and a broken nose and collarbone.
“Now, he’s in orthopedic where he’ll stay for about another week before he starts physical therapy,” Davis said last month. “He’s going to have to learn to do everything again.”
Adrian Leviner, also born and raised in Hamlet, said she and Jonathan went to school together, and that she was best friends with two of his cousins.
“When I heard they amputated his leg, that really got to me,” Leviner said. “That, and him being my age and everything else that happened to him. It really hit home.”
Knowing how expensive the hospital stay and surgeries could potentially be, Leviner decided to organize a benefit softball tournament for the family. Initially planned for June 27 at Parsons Field in Ellerbe, N.C., the event was postponed due to a rainy forecast and a soggy field. A make-up date has not yet been announced.
Organizers are seeking donations for hot dogs, buns, individual bags of potato chips and cases of Gatorade and water. For more information, call Leviner at 910-417-8942.
Davis said she appreciates Leviner for what she is doing, and also for the community’s prayers.
“He’s in a lot of pain,” Davis said. “They say he tries to be OK when I’m around ‘cause he doesn’t want me to know how much pain he’s in. That’s what his brother said. But I’d rather know and say ‘tell them when you’re in pain, so they can make it better.’”
Griggs also has a message for his friends and family back home.
“He’s told everybody, ‘Thank you for your prayers and just keep on praying for me,’” Davis said. “He knows people are praying and that it’s a miracle he’s still here. When people ask what they can do for me, I just say pray. More prayers.”
A GoFundMe campaign is accepting personal donations to the family. To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/w6twfs on the Web.
Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @meloniemclaurin.