Man loses wife, toddler; walks to cope

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Michael McIntire may have lost everything – his wife, his daughter, his home – but he hasn’t lost his faith.

McIntire is on a cross-country walking trek that has taken him from West Virginia to Oklahoma, and he’s now on the way back to his home in West Virginia. Local residents may have seen him pulling a wagon with his worldly possessions behind him. This week, he said his trek began after his wife and daughter were killed in an automobile accident involving a drunk driver on Dec. 17, 2011.

“I was on the phone with my wife, Cynthia, when it happened,” he said. “She told me she’d just picked up Katie and they were on their way home.

“She got quiet, which was not like her, and then said, ‘There’s headlights on my side of the road,’” he said. “And that was it.”

McIntire said a neighbor took him to the accident site where he arrived to find his 26-year-old wife dead and small daughter, who’d turned 3 two days earlier, clinging to life.

When he arrived at the hospital, doctors told him Katie wouldn’t last through the night.

“Katie was still in her car seat,” he said. “I’d beat the ambulance there.”

At the hospital, McIntire got a few short moments with Katie before she passed, he said.

“In a weak voice she said, ‘Hi Dada,’ he said. “I told her that Mommy was right here, but she said, ‘No Dada, Mommy was thrown from the car, and I saw the angels come and get her. She is waiting for me at the gate.’

“She then wanted to kiss me, and I bent over to kiss her before she died,” he said.

McIntire said he immediately turned to prayer to deal with the situation, but unlike others, never felt any ill will against the driver of the other car.

“Two days later, I was praising the Lord like I do, and I said, ‘I didn’t want to be angry. I told Him, I want to be your servant.’ I was listening to (the Christian group) Casting Crowns and reading about the crucifixion and I said, ‘I get the message.’”

The message was forgiveness, he said.

“Turned out, that was the second time he’d killed someone,” he said of the other driver. “It was the third time he got caught for DUI. He got two life sentences and not the death penalty because I asked the judge for lenience. I told them if we can beat on Jesus, spit on Jesus then crucify him, and He can forgive us. I can forgive (the driver) for what he did.”

McIntire said it took all his worldly possessions to bury his wife, a member of the Cherokee Nation, and his daughter on reservation land.

“I had to walk to the funeral in Oklahoma, and I’ve been walking ever since,” he said.

On Monday, McIntire was in Andalusia, his small wagon loaded with all the necessary items – including a prepaid cell phone and laptop. He is slowly making his way back to his hometown of Landmark, W.Va.

He said he sleeps in a four-man tent he carries on his wagon and eats when he can. His job with Burger King, where he’s been employed for more than 20 years, is waiting for him to return, as he said officials with the company told him to take as much time off as he needs to deal with his grief.

Over the weekend, local resident Johnny Evans said he had the opportunity to meet McIntire and share in his message.

“He was so uplifting,” Evans said. “With all the things going on in my life, I thought I had it rough. Listening to his story, I see just how lucky I am.”

McIntire plans to leave the area sometime today; however, he said he would be available to minister and share his story with anyone who called him at 601-520-6464.