Odessa deacon dies of his injuries two months after being hospitalized by hit and run crash

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ODESSA, Tx. (KOSA) - An Odessa deacon has died of his injuries after he was hurt in a hit and run car crash in March.

Seventy-two-year-old Manuel Luevano was a deacon at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church for 20 years.

Pastor Mark Woodruff said he was known for his dedication and knowledge.

“He gave a lot of good council to people in trouble,” Woodruff said. “He could teach at a drop of a hat. He could teach anything in The Bible, Catholic Doctrine, anything.”

Churchgoers could find him here every weekday morning before the 6:30 service.

Until one Monday morning in March, he wasn’t there.

“Everyone was wondering ‘Where’s Manuel?’” Woodruff said. “‘Where was he?’”

Luevano was only a few blocks away from his home where he was struck by a random tragedy.

A group of suspects had just burglarized a nearby Smoker’s Outlet and sped away down the street.

“They ran a stop sign and smashed right into his car,” Woodruff explained.

Woodruff said Luevano was seriously injured in the wreck and had to spend the next two months in the hospital recovering from surgery.

The church staff thought he was getting better, but his injuries proved too serious for him to overcome.

As the church prepares to honor him at the funeral service, Woodruff said Luevano will be remembered for his loyal commitment to the church.

“He had a great love of the lord,” he said. “He was a deeply spiritual man. He was very prayerful, and he could be very kind and gentle to people. He was a good shepherd.”

Police say the investigation into the hit and run crash is still ongoing.