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Jimmy & Retia Dukes seriously injured

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary professor Jimmy Dukes and his wife Retia were struck by a vehicle Saturday evening, April 4, as they crossed the street from the seminary’s main campus in New Orleans to the school’s Providence Guest House. Both received multiple injuries.

The Dukeses were transported to separate hospitals — he to Tulane Hospital and she to University Hospital. He later was moved to University Hospital as well.

Dukes received multiple fractures and injuries — two broken legs, a broken arm, a cracked vertebra and a punctured lung. He was scheduled for surgery April 6. Retia Dukes experienced head trauma in the accident. Upon arrival at the hospital, she underwent surgery for a brain hemorrhage. She remains in critical condition.

Jimmy Dukes has served as the director of theological education/distance learning for the Florida Baptist Convention since 2007.

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Dukes was with his wife in New Orleans for an NOBTS extension center directors’ meeting. He has worked in various roles at NOBTS since 1980, joining the faculty in 1984.

In an arrangement with the Florida Baptist Convention, he also serves as associate dean of the seminary’s Florida extension centers, director of the seminary’s Orlando hub and professor of New Testament and Greek. He holds master of divinity and doctor of theology degrees from NOBTS.

NOBTS President Chuck Kelley issued a prayer update to the seminary faculty, staff and alumni Sunday afternoon.

“The next several days are critical for Retia Dukes,” Kelley wrote. “We do call upon the grace of God and know that He will do whatever is necessary to meet the needs of His children. 2 Corinthians 4 and Psalm 46 are great passages for us to keep in our hearts in these days. Let us all keep these precious families before the Lord.”

“Dr. Jimmy Dukes is the greatest educational visionary I have ever known,” Kelley told the Baptist Press. “He and his wife Retia have been valuable and important contributors to both the mission of NOBTS and the community of NOBTS families for many years.

“We are all asking God for their full recovery,” Kelley said.

The Dukeses’ two sons, Erik and Jason, arrived in New Orleans Sunday. Erik is a family practitioner in Booneville, Miss. Jason is pastor of Westpoint Fellowship Church in Windermere, Fla.

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The accident happened at dusk Saturday evening at 7:35. A vehicle traveling east on Gentilly Boulevard/Chef Menteur Highway struck the Dukeses as they crossed from the main campus to the seminary’s guest housing across the street.

NOBTS campus police and witnesses contacted first responders immediately. Several New Orleans residents, who were on the seminary campus to vote in an election that evening, stopped to offer help as well.

The family is posting updates on the CaringBridge website. Updates are found in the journal section at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jimmyandretiadukes. The site is free but requires registration to receive access.
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Michael McCormack is a writer for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

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