Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Portales Bible study group helps rescue man pinned under truck

link Staff photo: Joshua Lucero

John Reilly was working on his Ford pickup Wednesday evening when the vehicle popped into gear and pinned him underneath it.


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What started as an average Wednesday evening Bible study at Church of the Nazarene in Portales turned into a heroic act. Church members rushed to the aid of a man trapped under a pickup, lifted the vehicle off of him, and pulled him to safety.

John Reilly, 47, of Portales was in a Lubbock hospital on Thursday night, but is expected to recover, his wife Mary Reilly said.

John Reilly apparently became pinned face down under his Ford pickup after it popped into gear while he was making repairs at his house adjacent to the church at South Avenue H and University.

Alerted that Reilly had become trapped, Nazarene Pastor Johnny Pacheco said he rushed into the church to call for help from worshipers.

The first two people on the scene were Eastern New Mexico University football players Ben Langford, 21, and Chevrolet Mikaele, 21, who had come straight from practice.

Once Langford and Mikaele reached Reilly, they immediately began trying to lift the truck off of him.

“All I could think was that we need to get him out,” said Langford. “We could see blood, so our main concern was getting him out.”

Langford said other members of the church joined them and managed to lift the truck high enough off Reilly for Pacheco to pull him to safety.

“It was a moment of clarity. I knew we had to get him out and there was no time to get a jack,” Pacheco said. “I knew we had guys so I ran in and called the men of the church.”

Pacheco said about 10 men from the Bible study assisted in lifting the front of the truck.

“God gave the men the strength to lift the truck. They had to lift it nearly two feet off the ground to get him out,” Pacheco said.

Mikaele said Reilly was unconscious and not breathing after he was pulled to safety.

“The first thing that went through my mind is that this guy is dead,” Mikaele said.

But Mikaele said after Pacheco turned Reilly over, he began to breath again and regained consciousness after a couple of minutes.

“We just thanked God that he was breathing,” Mikaele said.

Mikaele said the rescuers stayed with Reilly as they waited for an ambulance to arrive.

“Once the ambulance got there we backed off and let them do their job,” Mikaele said.

Reilly was airlifted to Lubbock’s Covenant Medical Center on Wednesday night and is in stable condition, according to Mary Reilly.

She said he suffered a broken back and bruising on his face and chest, but is expected to recover.

“I praise them for saving him,” Mary Reilly said.

“I praise God for the church. They have helped us out a lot.”

Pacheco said he is staying in contact with Mary Reilly and keeping up with John Reilly’s condition.

“Our whole church is praying for him,” Pacheco said.

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