Man struck by car

Matt Harrelson Richmond County Daily Journal

November 29, 2013

A blind pedestrian was struck by a privately owned vehicle Friday afternoon in downtown Rockingham.

The incident occurred shortly before 3:30 p.m. at the intersection of South Lee and West Franklin streets, across from the Richmond County Judicial Center.

Mark Tyler, 58, of Rockingham, was transported by First Health EMS to FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst.

Tyler is licensed in therapeutic massage. He can often be seen walking downtown with his seeing-eye German Shepherd, Sam.

Tyler said he was crossing in front of R.W. Goodman furniture store on Friday afternoon, listened for traffic and made it three-quarters of the way across the street before being struck by the oncoming vehicle. Tyler said he walks this route with his dog everyday and was planning on meeting his wife at the library.

After the accident, Tyler used his cellphone to call his wife. From the hospital room late Friday evening, Tyler said he suffered two broken bones in his lower right leg and is expected to go into surgery as soon as it was possible.

The car that struck him was a champagne-colored, four-door Buick sedan. Officers on the scene were unable to provide any information on the motorist or whether or not charges regarding the incident might be pending.

Tyler was featured in a February 2010 article in The Daily Journal where he detailed his journey from a healthy 42-year-old with near-perfect vision to being in a coma for nearly a month. As Tyler explained then, he suffered from a rare enzyme deficiency that made him septic; when he woke up, he was blind and paralyzed.

That was in 1998. Twelve years and a heart transplant later, Tyler had married, completed a program at Sandhills Community College and became a licensed massage therapist.