Hayden pastor seriously injured in car accident near Craig | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden pastor seriously injured in car accident near Craig

Doug Zirkle preaches at the Mission of Grace Baptist Church in Hayden.

Parishioners of a church in Hayden are calling for prayers, notes of encouragement and donations to help their pastor, who was seriously injured Friday in a rollover crash near Craig.

The Mission of Grace Baptist Church reported in a Facebook post that pastor Doug Zirkle suffered injuries to his brain and spine following the crash, which occurred on U.S. Highway 40 about 10 miles west of Craig.

Zirkle was flown to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora for treatment.

"There's been an outpouring of support," church elder Kevin Kleckler said. "Doug has definitely been the pastor of the valley. He's really touched a lot of people. We have people messaging us and sending us money — people who have never even graced the door of our church."

“It's testimony that he's such a good counselor of people and lover of life,” Kleckler added.

The church is collecting funds for Zirkle to help the family cover medical expenses. Donations and cards can be sent to Mission of Grace, PO Box 691, Hayden, CO 81639.

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Any checks sent to the church should be marked with Benevolence Fund in the memo line.

A family member reported on Facebook that Zirkle was improving Monday, though he was still in critical condition.

According to a report in the Craig Daily Press, Zirkle was heading west on U.S. 40 in a Jeep about 8 a.m. when his SUV went off the highway and rolled about 50 to 60 feet down an embankment.

The cause of the crash was under investigation by the Colorado State Patrol on Friday.

On Monday, State Patrol Captain Douglas Conrad said troopers hadn’t completed the investigation into the crash, because Zirkle was airlifted to a Denver hospital.

This isn't the first time Zirkle's parishioners have rallied to help their preacher.

In 2013, the church held fundraisers and a benefit concert to help Zirkle pay for a kidney transplant he needed. The congregation raised about $35,000 to help with medical expenses. A Hayden resident donated his kidney to Zirkle, and the transplant operation was successful.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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