Motorcycle crash leaves SBTC president in serious condition

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (BP)--George Harris, the president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, was seriously injured in a Nov. 23 motorcycle crash in the rural Hill Country outside San Antonio.

Harris, who recently retired after serving 28 years as senior pastor of Castle Hills First Baptist Church, was hospitalized in serious condition as of Nov. 25 at University Hospital, conscious, but unable to speak.

Malcolm Grainger, a retired former associate pastor at the church, paid a bedside visit to the SBCT president. He said Harris raised a finger as a sign of recognition when he walked into the room.

Harris, 68, was wearing a helmet that didn't shield his face; he suffered multiple facial fractures.

"He's not in a life-threatening situation, but it's certainly a life-altering situation," Grainger told the San Antonio Express-News.

Jim Richards, executive director of the SBTC, released a statement expressing his concern for Harris, who was recently re-elected to a second term as president of the SBCT.

"We thank God for sparing Dr. Harris during this accident," Richards said. "He is precious to Texas Southern Baptists as a preacher, pastor, president and friend. We join his church family and friends in praying for a speedy and full recovery for our dear brother."

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Harris was traveling with about a dozen motorcycle riders when he took a sharp turn too fast. Harris lost control of a rented Harley-Davidson motorcycle, tried to brake and slammed into a guardrail.

"He's able to squeeze our fingers. He knows we're there," said Don Harris, his son, in an interview with The San Antonio Express-News. "We're expecting him to have normal brain function. We are expecting a long, tedious reconstruction process on his face."


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