Unlikely friendship formed from I-65 accident PDF Print E-mail

A near tragic traffic accident on April 15, 2016 has lead one man on an incredible journey of physical and spiritual healing.


It has also led to an unlikely friendship which will continue to grow on a 560 mile journey beginning October 18 when they start the walk of the Camino of Santiago.

Two and a half years ago  Luke Hutchins, Henryville lost control of his vehicle on I-65 and crossed into on-coming traffic.

Luke’s vehicle collided head-on with a vehicle driven by  Mark Peredo, Lanesville.

Mark said the accident nearly killed them both. He said he suffered a crushed foot and nose and when it was all said and done he required eight surgeries.

It took more than a year for Mark to learn to walk again.

In addition to learning to walk, he set a goal of fully recuperating and taking part in the Camino of Santiago as a way of sorting out his life.

The Camino of Santiago is a 1,500 year old pilgrimage known as a spiritual journey.

Peregrinos or Pilgrims walk 15 to 25 miles per day and live with only a few personal items carried in a backpack.  They sleep and eat in communal hostels called “albuergues”.   Each person living on about $35 per day.

In 2016 more than 270,000 pilgrims walked the Camino.

If all the surgeries and therapy wasn’t enough, Mark lost his father to cancer soon after the walk.

“He told me to just go and let nothing hold me back from doing this (the Camino of Santiago),” Mark said. “I had a lot of anger – even hate for what had happened. So I pushed and was able to make the walk.”

The anger was directed toward Luke and that anger led to an inability to forgive.

So when Mark began his walk, he was like many who were there, seeking clarity through the simplicity the Camino is been said to offer.

“You meet many walks of life on the Camino full of joy and sadness,” he said. “One pilgrim friend I met walked with the ashes of her mother, one walked for his newborn son to discover how to be the best father he could be, another were two individuals that became very close friends, struggling though very tragic memories of their youth. We still talk. They are my friends to this day.”

Mark’s journey took him through the Camino’s French Route that has a starting point in St. Jean Pied du Port, a small French town and traditional gathering spot for pilgrims to begin the long journey ahead.

The first day lead Mark and other pilgrims into the challenge of the Pyrenees Mountains, across the Spanish border into the Basque province of Spain.

Eventually leading them to Spain’s western province of Galicia, where the city of Santiago de Compostelo awaited.

After reaching the cathedral of Santiago, Mark continued onto the coastal towns of Muxia and Finesterra.  However, he still felt his journey was not complete.

“No one is ever the same after almost 600 miles,” he said. “At the end of it there was a part of me that did not want to leave. I wanted to do it again and I did not know exactly why.”

When he returned home, Mark’s wife picked up on the same vibe and agreed that his journey might not be complete.

Mark felt he had to speak to Luke to see how he was doing and find closure - not knowing what to expect.

Luke admitted to not knowing what to expect either.

“I really didn’t know why he wanted to meet,” Luke said. “I just put it in the Lords hands - so we met.”

Mark found forgiveness on his spiritual journey, but upon meeting Luke, he found out that the accident was due to a medical condition.

Luke had a rare form of epilepsy that manifested into a partial complex epileptic seizure.

Mark said he realized at that point the accident was out of Luke’s control and his wasn’t the only life that was drastically affected by what had happened.

Luke is now unable to drive and  must have someone with him at all times until the balance of medication is determined.   He also continues to suffer from epilepsy and as time progresses; his particular form of epilepsy could end in his life in his early sixties.

Mark also knows that time will also take a toll on his foot from his own injury and arthritis will overtake his foots mobility later in life.

Mark and Luke became friends and as Mark shared the experience of  the walk of the Camino of Santiago.

Now the two will take the journey together and in order to make it happen have started a fundraising campaign.

To help raise funds, a GoFundMe campaign has been set up at www.gofundme.com/teamlukeonthecamino .