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Gonza Mackey believes it was divine intervention that has allowed him to live to tell his story.
It was shortly before 3 a.m. Feb. 16.
Mackey, 24, had just left the Grown Folks Club on U.S. 521 and gotten in his four-door Chevrolet Caprice. He planned to drive home and meet with some friends afterward.
But he didn't get far. His car collided with a car that made a U-turn. The impact overturned Mackey's car and ejected him.
Mackey's father, Gonzie, was at home when the wreck happened. He received numerous phone calls, most of which didn't sound too good. There was so much noise in the background, it was hard for him to fully understand what happened.
"All I heard was, 'He's dead,'" Gonzie Mackey said. "I knew something bad had happened. It was chaos."
At the wreck scene, just yards from the Grown Folks Club, Gonza Mackey was left speechless, without vision and practically motionless. Here, Mackey had an intimate conversation with God.
"Lord, forgive me. Please, forgive me," Mackey recalls saying.
Mackey believes he died and that God spared his life and brought him back. Shortly afterward, he remembers being revived by medical responders.
"If I didn't give him that communication, I think he would have let me go," Mackey said.
Mackey's parents, Gonzie and Yvonne, drove to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, where their son had been admitted to the intensive care unit.
Mackey had a broken nose and chin. His left eye was hanging out of its socket. His head and face were swollen and he lost a great amount of blood.
"I was messed up," he said.
His parents were glad to see him still alive, but were frightened by the damage done to his face by the accident. His mother dealt with the situation better than his father. She knew God was in control of everything.
"I just prayed for God to keep us strong and enable the doctors to perform," Yvonne Mackey said.
Gonza Mackey had to have plastic surgery on his face.
In one operation, the top layer of the right side of his skull was removed and placed on his left cheek.
It was believed he would suffer major permanent brain damage, but that doesn't appear to be the case.
Mackey now experiences blurred vision and hearing loss in his left ear. He also has short-term memory loss and still can't open his mouth wide. He has started therapy and still has to have an operation on his left eye.
Mackey, who's known as "Boss," had been working at the Wal-Mart distribution center in Pageland and part time at Pizza Inn in Lancaster. Though he's not going to be returning to work for a while, he's now able to move around and go out a little bit.
He said his recovery is nothing short of a miracle.
"It makes you really be careful how you live your life every day, because it doesn't take but a split second to change everything," Mackey said. "I see how powerful God is. He has me in his hands."
Mackey's father said the widespread community support his family has received means a lot. He can't even count the number of cards and calls they've gotten since the accident.
"We're trying to find a way to express how thankful we were that they were there for us," Gonzie Mackey said.
Contact reporter Jesef Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or (803) 283-1152